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Williams files bill to repeal "stand your ground" law

Stand Your Ground Law
Posted at 3:39 PM, Jan 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-10 11:12:51-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Legislation has been filed in the Florida House of Representatives that aims to repeal the state's controversial "stand your ground" self-defense law.

Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) filed House Bill 4009 on January 8.

Passed in 2005, the initial bill provided a basis that there is "no duty to retreat and has the right to stand one's ground and meet force with force in certain circumstances" when someone felt threatened.

The state law has been under the microscope since the February 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. The accused gunman, George Zimmerman, says he fatally shot the 17 year old in self-defense. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty under the "stand your ground" law and is scheduled to go to trial in June.

Williams, a supporter of the Second Amendment and right to bear arms, says his legislation is aimed at removing the "no duty to retreat" language in the current law.

"Current law gives citizens the ability to use a defense of stand your ground if they felt as though their life was threatened. This law does not give them the ability to go and pursue someone they feel has threatened their lives or has caused them bodily harm," Representative Williams said. "If that individual is in retreat you can not go into the street and fire a weapon at them. What we want them to do is use the mechanism in place. Call law enforcement."

Williams says his bill does not remove a citizen's right to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger.

"If they're in their home, at their property and they feel their property is being threatened, they have the ability to protect themselves," Rep. Williams said. "We're not taking that ability away from them. By repealing this law (stand your ground) we're putting forth language that protects not only their right to protect themselves, but the community at large."