Governor signs ‘stand your ground’ reform

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday approved a Republican-backed measure that clarifies the state’s burden of proof in self-defense cases.

The legislation, SB 128, which expands justifiable homicide protections in Florida, was approved by the House 74-39 in April and 22-14 in the Senate last month. The law clarifies that the government, not the accused, has the burden of proof in a “stand your ground” immunity hearing prior to proceeding to trial, which supporters of the effort felt should have been the case all along.

“If the State of Florida is going to accuse a citizen of committing a crime, the State of Florida should have the burden of proof at each and every part of the proceeding,” said Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, in a statement. “This legislation requires the state to meet the standard of clear and convincing evidence to overcome an immunity claim.”

The state legislature in 2005 passed a self-defense law that gave immunity from arrest, detainment, charging and prosecuting unless an investigation by the state reveals there was probable cause to believe the act was not, in fact, lawful self-defense. However, the Florida Supreme Court authorized prosecutors to use a special stand-your-ground hearing in which those under investigation must prove they are innocent rather than making the state prove guilt – and from there either apply charges and hold for trial or move to release.

Senate Bill 128, which took effect immediately, reverses that process and establishes that prosecutors will have to provide “clear and convincing” evidence to move forward to trial.

Among those advocating against the proposal was Lucy McBath, mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis who was fatally shot following a dispute over loud music. The defendant in that case was later convicted of murder in a high-profile trial. Since the teen’s death, McBath has been a vocal challenger of stand your ground policies in her work with gun control group Moms Demand Action.

She called the legislation a “national embarrassment” and pointed out that Scott signed the stand your ground protection the same day he proclaimed June 12 as Pulse Memorial Day.

“Not only am I outraged, I find this to be tone-deaf and hypocritical,” said McBath.

Gun rights groups backed the measure from the outset, arguing that the procedures implemented by prosecutors did not have the weight of law and vital self-defense rights have been safeguarded.

“The bill restores the presumption of innocence in self-defense cases and puts the burden of proof back on the state where it belongs,” Marion Hammer, executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a former National Rifle Association president, told previously.


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  • Dannie Poe

    I question if anyone even understands what self defense even means. As long as citizens are forced to go with out weapons of defense, while criminals all have guns, then there is a complete disconnect between our government and the people.

  • Richard Olsen

    Since there no longer exists a united states of America, let alone a constitutional republic, we the people no longer have any rights whatever. There is no system of law that even resembles the system that existed when the country was founded. The constitution, when there was a united states, required the use of common law. Under the constitution, each of the states that were in, or which later opted to join, the united states was a sovereign nation. By participating in the union the nations agreed to cede certain powers, and ONLY those powers to the republic formed under the constitution. Please, people, READ the constitution. If you are able to read with any degree of understanding, a condition more often than not doubtful after over a hundred forty years of compulsory government schooling, you will no longer even possibly believe that there exists a lawfull government, or that you have any protection from those who have usurped the constitutional government and violated or nullified all rights with which we were endowed by our Creator.

    • Terry Butts

      That was how this nation started however since the civil war (and possibly one of its causes) it has not operated this way and has increasingly chipped away at the rights of the people, the states and expanded its own power until we have the mess that exists today where you have to PROVE you are innocent when accused even after the accuser confesses they lied and the state thinks it can confiscate anything it wants without compensation if it will PROFIT the state more than you owning whatever it is they want does.

      In simple terms almost a complete return to a government like the one the founders removed by force in the 1770s with globalist agenda politicians pushing to complete the reversal of freedom as hard as they can.

      • Richard Olsen

        Actually, the politicians, primarily attorney politicians, started the destruction of the republic even before the era of the war of sesescsion

    • JDW

      You have my vote, absolutely. I have been saying these same things for thirty years, it all falls on deaf ears. Nothing is taught in our schools concerning history or civics or state history. Ebonics is praised along with common core crap.

  • Terry Butts

    ““If the State of Florida is going to accuse a citizen of committing a crime, the State of Florida should have the burden of proof at each and every part of the proceeding,””

    In other words the INNOCENT until proven guilty stance of the US CONSTITUTION instead of the GUILTY until you prove you are innocent stance of tyrannical governments.

    • Alan404

      Applies to any other jurisdiction too.

    • JDW

      Other words, Napoleonic Law is rescinded! That is Guilty until proven innocent which contrary to the Constitution. Good show Governor!!!!

  • Alan404

    Prosecutors are required to show …, sounds entirely reasonable. WHen last I looked, the accused was innocent until PROVEN guilty, the above referenced PROOF being the burden of government.

  • Alex Ferguson

    Florida has legalized murder.

    • J. Ernst

      NO Alex…FLORIDA has preserved the RIGHT’S of the PUT UPON to DEFEND THEMSELVES without the need to CALL 911 and WAIT for someone ELSE to DO SOMETHING for them.
      YOUR opinion is that of EXCLUSION … such that the U.S. Constitution is old and outdated.
      You opine that to BE ALLOWED to defend myself, ANYWHERE in the USA, is secondary to __________________________PLEASE fill in that blank.
      You opine that if your”re attacked…you must BE in the wrong place.
      OR…that I must have offended someone to make them angry….
      OR…there should be area’s that these “potential attackers” should be in to keep them from YOU…..
      YOUR BLANKET statement is juvenile….The “Pulse Attack” was terrorism in that a BI-SEXUAL muslim (like your former RULER; Barry Soetoro-Ohbama), couldn’t STAND that he was spurned by a Pulse patron he had “relations with. And being muslim, he was internally “torn” that he would do ANYTHING perverse of animal propensities. His personal JIHAD was carried out as any twisted juvenile would do….like the Sandy Hook idiot, the two muslim’s in CA, the two “bombers” at the Boston Marathon, and on, and on, and on…
      I appreciate that YOU are NOT in MY state of Florida.
      Please stay where you are in whatever socialist State you reside in. And in between your weed schedule of activities…GO and get a copy of the U.S. Constitution and READ IT!!!
      By that LAW COLLECTION, I shouldn’t even HAVE to HAVE a concealed carry PERMIT …….. That is if you understand the English language.

      • Alex Ferguson

        Good one, ma’am! Now check your last paragraph and explain to me that you and I both have the right to walk into a day-care center with a flamethrower…….

        • old codger


        • Not true again stupid idiot flamethrowers are not legal .

          • JDW

            That is not the point this idiot is trying to make! Hand grenades are probably taboo as well. Education should be taboo as well. With that a chemist or engineer or doctor could murder thousands of people with knowledge! So, liberals, lets ban knowledge.

          • He has no points because these are our God given rights to protect our selves and if he doesn’t like them then move to a communist country where it sounds like he belongs .

          • JDW

            Yes, he has no viable point to make. When ever is it possible to rationalize with a liberal. Their communist thinking does not work with rational people. It is the same telling a socialist to use their own money, not ours..

          • Alex Ferguson

            How does that square with the Second Amendment, dope?

          • Alex Ferguson

            “….SHALL NOT INFRINGE….”, dope……

          • You said it all [dope] you must be on it .

        • JDW

          Could be the times you live in. Things like common sense, respect, honor, all have been adulterated to some sense of “modern” acceptance. Things like yes mam and no sir are very lost in society. Honoring a funeral procession is a forgotten thing. Removing ones hat in the presents of a lady or entering a church is rarely seen. If I open carry a weapon, hysteria ensues. Yet, these same folks scream when something bad happens, where is the police. Why am I not protected? I would be afraid to help you for fear of being arrested for doing so. So, no, no one should enter a day-care with a flame thrower! Accidents can happen. Common sense. intent to harm should never be the fear that liberals tend to dwell on.

        • J. Ernst

          Simple answer there idiot…ONE round to the tank (which takes several seconds to attach to the body, strap on, then turn on), in the parking lot would take care of the perp AND YOU for watching said perp in horror or disbelief or amazement as the perp would walk into a “day-care center.”
          YOU are OBVIOUSLY a watcher….not a do-er. Go smoke yer weed and watch your talk shows to get your heart rate up to speed you witless stooge.

    • JDW

      Bullshit, idiot!!!! Get your liberal head out of your backside!

    • The only thing legal here is the right to defend your self with out fear of your Government and remember that its your God given right even if you are stupid .

    • Terry Butts

      Regardless of how you feel about SELF DEFENSE the constitution is clear it is “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY” not “GUILTY UNTIL YOU ARE PROVEN INNOCENT”. This change simply returns that status to those forced to defend their lives from the previous status where the state treated them as GUILTY of murder until they proved they were innocent.

      Nothing in the law made MURDER legal (under the legal definition of murder which DOES NOT INCLUDE SELF DEFENSE) it simply makes the state follow the US CONSTITUTION and prove that it was in fact a murder not a case of self defense rather than making the VICTIM prove he is innocent of murder.

      In fact this GUILTY UNTIL YOU ARE PROVEN INNOCENT attitude is one of the many reasons that eventually caused the founders to remove their former government and create a new nation because prior to that the government would jail people INDEFINITELY on accusations they committed a crime until they could prove they were innocent. In many cases it was just someone in power that wanted to steal the property etc. of the accused that made the many times unfounded accusation.

      • Alex Ferguson

        This only ratchets up the violence. George Zimmerman was LOOKING to kill his victim—he sought him out and that cannot be disputed, as we have it on tape. Now, a person who wants to kill someone merely has to start an argument, shoot the victim, and claim the snowflake defense of fear…..

        • Terry Butts

          TOTAL BS

          The facts you have ignored

          1) Zimmerman was with the neighborhood watch

          2) SEVERAL burglaries had happened in the neighborhood

          3) The POLICE gave the description of a suspect they were looking for in those crimes IT MATCHED the suspect Zimmerman followed. (following someone while in public is not LOOKING TO KILL THEM)

          4) He CALLED 911 REPORTING a man matching the suspects DESCRIPTION was in the area while he followed the suspect STILL TALKING to the 911 operator.

          5) After numerous attempts to get him to GUESS the race of the suspect the 911 operator informed him the police would not be dispatched and to stop following the suspect. HE COMPLIED

          6) As his BACK WAS turned to the suspect while leaving the suspect ATTACKED HIM we CLEARLY heard him on the 911 tape begging the one TRYING TO BEAT HIM TO DEATH to stop several times before he finally shot him. (Zimmerman’s injuries were so severe the police were not even sure he would live)

          7) The criminals history showed he was involved in VIOLENT crimes in the past including one robbery in which a guard was killed (another Hispanic male who tried to stop a crime like Zimmerman)

          8) A despite irrefutable evidence that no trial was called for RACIST AGITATORS forced one to be held He was tried for murder and the EVIDENCE proved that Zimmerman did not murder him that he in fact DID attack Zimmerman that it was as the evidence showed from the start open and shut self defense by a NEIGHBORHOOD watch individual attacked by a SUSPECT the police were in fact looking for in a string of crimes in the neighborhood.

          The evidence on the deceased criminals phone clearly showed he texted others stating he was going to attack the neighborhood watch individual (apparently angry whatever he had planned was stopped by his mere presence). In a complete reversal of judicial precedence they suppressed that evidence falsely claiming that because they could not prove he pushed the button despite the phone was only in his possession. In every other case if the phone is in your possession and the evidence is on the phone then you are held responsible for that content no proof you pushed the button needed.

          His phone contained pictures of jewelry he did not own possible connected to one of the crimes among other things (investigation of these was blocked by lawyers).

          If Zimmerman simply STALKED and MURDERED someone he would not have been on the phone with 911 trying to get the police to come interview the suspect that matched the description THEY gave out while it was happening.

          “Now, a person who wants to kill someone merely has to start an argument, shoot the victim, and claim the snowflake defense of fear…..”

          This is a total lie if YOU start an argument then MURDER the person you are charged for that crime the SNOWFLAKES are the ones that are so afraid of self defense that they want even the police disarmed out of fear they may get shot while “PROTESTING” you know like when they RAN OVER an elderly man after beating him with his own oxygen tank because EVIDENCE proved the severely injured police officer acted in defense in another case.

          This was PROVEN in the case of the dispute about loud music if your claim was true there would have been no murder conviction in that case.

          You are making the same claims all the ANTI GUN people spout every time the state tries to PROTECT law abiding citizens from VENGEANCE at the hands of criminals or their families.

          When one state passed a law that to end BOGUS LAWSUITS being used to bankrupt people for nothing more than not being a victim simply blocking CRIMINALS or their relatives from suing the victim in a case of self defense they made this same exact BOGUS claim that somehow it would allow a murder to go unpunished despite the fact it had nothing in it that stopped any murder investigation or prevented MURDERERS from being sued. It simply ended the vindictive practice of DESTROYING the lives of people who were forced to defend themselves, their family, or others when their lives were in danger.

          But then to all ANTI GUN GROUPS all logic and facts fail to them anything that involves a gun is murder no matter what the circumstances. Look at how the crime rates SKYROCKET in every place that has concealed and/or open carry crime rates drop as criminals are no longer EMBOLDENED with the knowledge their victims are unarmed by law and their lives will be DESTROYED if they dare defend themselves.

          • Alex Ferguson

            1) Gun crime in cities with strict gun control laws are accelerated by easy access to weapons in nearby areas with more liberal gun laws.
            2) Question: What explains Zimmerman’s constant beating of the women in his life? What explains his record of attempting to start fights with strangers?

          • Terry Butts

            1) What places near ENGLAND, Japan, FRANCE etc. have easy access to weapons? Some of the places even go so far as to RESTRICT/BAN knives.

            The mere fact you Immediately think of GUNS when the GENERIC term “CRIME” was used shows you have fallen for the brainwashing of anti gun groups. CRIME does not always include the use of guns but STOPPING crime by making criminals FEAR the response of their victims does.

            No criminal is afraid of someone dialing 911 when five minutes is the fastest response time it usually takes far longer (especially when the operator is more concerned about the “races” involved than notifying police) or CAMERAS not even locked doors stop a determined criminal so it is pure ignorance to think ANOTHER law other than the one already prohibiting the criminal act they plan to commit would somehow stop them. That if by some miracle one was able to keep them from getting a gun that they would not simply use a knife, bat, BOMB etc. to carry out their planned crime instead.

            By this FLAWED LOGIC gun laws only work if there is a WORLD WIDE ban on civilian ownership and NO BOMBS are are ever used as they are COMPLETELY banned from civilian use and not LEGALLY easy to get anywhere.

            Think of this if any of the school shooting had instead been multiple bombs placed because the criminal could not get the far less lethal gun (they could have been stopped by being shot by a bystander while using) their crimes would have killed/harmed far more people and the ones that actually were stopped by ARMED bystanders would not have been because a BOMB is a stealth weapon no hears a criminal approaching that is using one.

            This claim of blaming NEARBY places for NOT IMPOSING the same restriction is one of the oldest and BIGGEST lies used by gun control advocates SINCE ANY LEGAL PURCHASE goes through a background check and is registered BY FEDERAL LAW in every state such illegal transfers would be easily traced back to the origin in fact that was the very EXCUSE used to implement registration so ANY GUN used in a crime could easily be traced back to the owner.

            Criminals either STEAL guns from “law enforcement, military, LEGALLY owned ones from civilians forced to leave them at home while away (and having the fact the own one published for all criminals to see by an anti gun newspaper)” or make them themselves they do not go through the process of BACKGROUND CHECKS or GUN REGISTRATION that is required in every single state BY FEDERAL LAW.



            While they may have their information incorrect by calling SEMI AUTO weapons FULL AUTO (by using the term assault weapon) the fact is that these criminals are just the ones caught with it being so easy to make guns and gunpowder that the FOUNDERS of this nation could do so NO BAN or restriction will keep them out of the hands of criminals.

            The FLAWED logic of TAKING away a needed tool from everyone because one person ABUSED their having one through misuse to commit a crime would abolish the ownership of everything that exists if applied to all items that have been misused for the same criminal act. Even ROCKS have been used to kill/harm others.

            NOT EVEN SUMMERY EXECUTION as proven by a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC special years ago showing the people who lived in the hills in one such nation they HAND MADE copies of actual M16 select fire assault weapons so close to the ones our military personal was issued the parts were interchangeable with the factory made guns.

            Remember the UN themselves said the stated goal of gun control was to “ABOLISH ANY POSSIBILITY OF ARMED RESISTANCE” instead of asking the obvious questions “RESISTANCE TO WHAT?” or “What are they planning they fear their intended targets would to take up arms to protect themselves?” the anti gun politicians jumped on the chance to impose an unconstitutional foreign dictate upon US citizens one thats stated purpose was to ABOLISH ALL CIVILIAN gun ownership to prevent the entire purpose behind the second amendments creation which is that the CITIZENS of this nation must be able to put up an armed resistance to any TYRANNICAL takeover of this nation foreign or domestic in order for this nation to remain a free nation. (not one single case in history has had anything but GOVERNMENT ORGANIZED mass murder after disarming the people including ancient Rome after they declared only the PROTECTORATE and soldiers were allowed to have swords)

            Such things as forcing them into “refugee”,work etc. (death) camps, Denial of medical care (such as the ACA does to elderly unless a committee approves the cost of treatment) or forced euthanasia because some POLITICIAN decided they are of no MONETARY value to the government like MANY other nations have done in the past and some have been doing and many politicians and “ELITES” they listen to have ADVOCATED.

            2) What explains perpetuating the propaganda that had absolutely nothing to do with the facts presented in court about the case in question? what Zimmerman has been ACCUSED of in the past is not relevant to the PROSECUTION of the case in question. The prosecution clearly stated thus when they refused to allow his attackers criminal past (including a crime that resulted in another Hispanic man being killed) to be part of the trial on those grounds.

            In America people are charged and convicted upon evidence of the CURRENT CRIME they are accused of not based on what kind of person they are in their private lives or how someone FEELS about them personally or how they acted in the past. If it were otherwise at least half the nation would be in prison.

            Did you even listen to the full 911 tape or just the selectively edited portions used for propaganda by the media just like when the media changed from showing the photo of his attacker as an ADULT to one taken years ago when he was just a child? All to create a false image in peoples minds that he was just some innocent child instead of the adult male in a neighborhood he did not live wearing the exact same thing the police said the CRIMINAL they were looking for was wearing.

            Everything that happened was recorded as he was ON THE PHONE with the 911 operator the entire time INCLUDING when he was ambushed on his way back after the 911 operator or the officer if any they contacted decided not to follow up on the request BY POLICE for people to notify them IF THEY SAW THE SUSPECT in the police gave them a description of in the neighborhood.

          • rodfergie

            Don’t be stating the facts. It screws with the liberal narrative.

  • Thank you very much Governor Rick Scott for taking care of your citizens sir !

  • Maggietish

    Good for Governor Rick Scott. It’s about time a politician supported law abiding Americans for a change. With so much crime running rampant and more and more people being victimized and killed, which has become the reality in the United States, we must own guns in order to defend ourselves. It’s a National disgrace the way the elitist politicians, liberals and the biased liberal progressive lying fake news medua who have literally declared war on police officers over the last few years have literally put all Americans in danger:jeopardy. One wonders if their attitude would change if, God forbid, one of their family members or friends becomes a victim and is attacked or even murdered and they were the ones that were responsible for those family members and friends not being able to own a gun and defend themselves. Right now all they do is support the perpetrators and throw law-abiding Americans under the bus.