Special to the NNPA from The Miami Times
Representative Cynthia Stafford (D-Miami) has filed House Bill 123, which aims to require an overt act for someone claiming the stand your ground defense. Representative Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) and Representative Barbara Watson (Miami Gardens) have joined Stafford as co-sponsors of the bill. The representatives offered the following statements:
Stafford said: “The way the law currently reads, a person claiming stand your ground need only have a reasonable belief that they are in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death. There is no provision that requires something other than a person’s belief. This bill will require an overt act, in essence, an initial aggressive act that places the claimant in fear for their life.
“House Bill 123 will help to eliminate assumptions that have proven deadly in the past. It’s no longer, `I thought’ he or she looked dangerous so `I thought’ I would be harmed or killed. With this bill, there must be something more than `I thought’ there must be an overt act that placed a person in reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.
Pafford said: “Representative Stafford’s proposal provides a smart change to a complex law that obviously needs urgent attention.”
Watson said: “I believe there are loopholes in the current law that too often lead to opportunities for individuals to make a judgment of fear or threat to their safety that result in deadly consequences. House Bill 123 tightens the guidelines as to whether they can claim stand your ground.”
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