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Lawmakers fight for changes to stand your ground

Stand Your Ground Law
Posted at 6:02 PM, Jul 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-15 18:29:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--It's a law on the books that's been questioned by many during protests and marches across the state does the "stand your ground law" protect or harm.

"In the state of Florida we're sending the wrong message that we're not even willing to have the debate on the stand your ground law," said Williams.

Representative Alan Williams is pushing to make change, a continued effort after a failed attempt to repeal the law this past legislative session.

"Neither of the bills were heard in any chamber," said Williams.

The 2005 law, permits anyone who feels their safety or life is in danger to use deadly force without first exercising a duty to retreat.

It's a law that many thought George Zimmerman was sure to claim after he shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, but his lawyers won the case based on self defense alone.

"We cannot allow anymore Trayvon martin's to die on our streets," said Williams.

Ahmad Abuznaid, legal policy director for the Dream Defenders agrees

He says the state's entire self defense law needs to be reviewed.

"We feel that there is self defense for a reason and we don't need to give a wider gap of allow-ability for people to become vigilantes and seek justice on their own," said Abuznaid.

However; the bills sponsor representative Dennis Baxley says that was never the intent and maintains it was put in place to protect Floridians.

"People in that situation, being attacked by somebody have moments to decide whether they want to live or be a victim," said Baxley.

Baxley says he's open to conversation about changes to the law but warns about potential changes.

"I would be very cautious about doing anything that would diminish our citizens rights to protect themselves from harm," said Baxley.

It's a discussion supporters of the repeal hopes will happen soon.

"I need the other side to understand lives are being lost, children are being lost, and we need to do something to make our communities safer," said Abuznaid.