Senate Panel to Take Up 'Stand Your Ground' Bill

Posted at 3:24 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 15:24:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - The Senate Judiciary Committee next week is expected to take up a proposal that would shift the legal burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases --- but the panel is not slated to consider a controversial measure that would expand the ability of people to carry guns in public.

The Judiciary Committee's agenda for a meeting next Tuesday includes the "stand your ground" bill (SB 128), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.

The bill stems from a Florida Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that said defendants have the burden of proof to show they should be shielded from prosecution under the "stand your ground" law.

In "stand your ground" cases, pretrial evidentiary hearings are held to determine whether defendants should be immune from prosecution.

The bill --- and an identical proposal in the House (HB 245) --- would shift that burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors. But the Judiciary Committee's agenda does not include a gun bill that has drawn wider debate.

That bill (SB 140), filed by Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry handguns in public and also would allow them to be armed on college and university campuses.

Under the bill, they also could carry guns at airport passenger terminals; in elementary and secondary schools; and at legislative and local government meetings.

The committee had been scheduled to consider Steube's bill Jan. 10, but the meeting was canceled.