When the Florida House passed legislation Wednesday to bolster the state’s Stand Your Ground law–adding new protections for citizens’ natural right to self-defense–dejected Moms Demand Action members looked on from the gallery with faces marked by disappointment.
Moms Demand volunteer state chapter leader Michelle Gajda said, “It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”
According to the Miami Herald, the legislation is contained in Senate Bill 128–a bill designed to remove the burden of proof from the citizen and shift it to the state. It does this by requiring prosecutors to use a pretrial hearing to prove a defendant cannot use Stand Your Ground in his defense.
SB 128 passed the House by a party line vote of 74 to 39. Reuters reports that it was sponsored by Representative Bobby Payne (R-19), who said, “This bill is trying to put the burden of proof where it belongs, on the state, because all people are innocent before being proven guilty.”
When the Senate passed their version of the bill in mid-March, WUFT quoted Moms Demand national spokeswoman Lucy McBeth saying:
The Florida Senate has chosen to ignore senseless killings like that of my dear son, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin to vote in favor of expanding the state’s already deadly Stand Your Ground law. Make no mistake, this expansion will create a nearly insurmountable backlog of cases for prosecutors, and will make it easier for gun criminals to escape justice. This legislation will be especially traumatic for gun violence survivors and their loved ones. Our lawmakers should remember that the dangerous proposal they’ve supported today can and will have irreversible consequences for many Floridians tomorrow and for years to come.
The version of the bill passed by the House now returns to the Senate because of differences in wording. If the Senate agrees to the House language, SB 128 will go to Governor Rick Scott’s (R) desk.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.