CONTACT: Office of Representative Stafford
Rep. Cynthia Stafford Statement Regarding Citizen Safety Task Force Report
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — State Rep. Cynthia Stafford, a Miami Democrat and the sponsor of a bill to alter Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, provided a response to today’s report to Governor Rick Scott of the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, a panel formed in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old slain last year in Sanford, Fla.
In its report today, the task force concluded that Florida Statute 776, the Stand Your Ground law, should not be overturned. Representative Stafford, an attorney, has filed for the 2013 legislative session House Bill 123, which aims to require an overt act for someone claiming the stand your ground defense.
Representative Stafford has said that 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. House Bill 123 requires an overt act, in essence, an initial aggressive act that places the claimant in fear for their life.
In response to today’s task force report, comprised of several proponents of the Stand Your Ground law, Representative Stafford said:
“I am disappointed but not shocked. I think the deck was stacked toward this outcome by the Task Force. I think the people of Florida deserved to hear a fair and balanced discussion, but I don’t think that’s what they got in this case.
“It’s been said that law-abiding citizens have a right to carry their guns. Well, law-abiding citizens who don’t carry weapons also have a right to walk down the street and sit in their cars and not be assaulted by a person with a gun. I was hoping for a different outcome to today’s Task Force report. I just hope this law doesn’t cause more deaths.”