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Copyright (c) 2008 University of Miami Law Review
University of Miami Law Review

Note: Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law: The Actual Effects and the Need for Clarification

October, 2008

University of Miami Law Review

63 U. Miami L. Rev. 395

Author

Zachary L. Weaver+

Excerpt



Introduction
 
Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law has been controversial 1 since Governor Jeb Bush signed it into law on April 26, 2005. 2 The Protection of Persons/Use of Force Bill (the Judiciary Committee's Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 436) 3 expanded an individual's legal right to use force in self-defense, including deadly force, 4 without fear of criminal or civil consequences. 5 In doing so, the law abrogated "the common law duty to retreat when attacked before using force, including deadly force in self-defense or defense of others." 6 Although it should have troubled the legislature that the individuals charged with enforcing the law - prosecutors and law enforcement - opposed the law, 7 the dissent by these groups did not dissuade the Florida Legislature. The law passed with unanimous approval in the Florida Senate and passed overwhelmingly in the Florida House of Representatives. 8

Vehement arguments both for and against the law have been advanced during and since its passage. Proponents of the legislation, backed by the weighty support of the National Rifle Association ("NRA"), 9 claim that the law was necessary to give law-abiding citizens the ability to protect themselves. 10 The NRA's self-interest - sanctioning the use of deadly force in more circumstances and thereby sanctioning the use of firearms in those situations - and heavy involvement in creating and passing the legislation did not deter the Florida Legislature. One of the bill's sponsors, Representative Dennis K. Baxley, stated that the law would "curb violent ...
 
 
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