Florida house speaker Will Weatherford has instructed the chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee to hold public hearings this fall on the states Stand Your Ground Law. Representative Matt Gaetz will convene his committee at the state capitol this fall and he expects a spirited discussion.
"We're going to have people who feel affected by the stand your ground law come and offer testimony. I'm sure that the people who have been protesting at the capitol will have a view point. Law enforcement will have a view point, prosecutors will and that's how we really arrive at the most deliberative conclusion by having an open process and allowing people to come and share their views" said Gaetz.
Gaetz says legislators have already been collecting data about the law and how it is applied in the state of Florida.
"Before the stand your ground law was on the books the laws of our state favored attackers over victims. Victims actually used to have a duty to run and retreat when they're being attacked. Now I think we have appropriately put the law on the side of the victim and not the attacker and I’m not much for repealing that" said Gaetz.
Legislators will use the information from the hearings to help inform and protect Florida’s defense laws in the future.
"Most legislators will arrive at the conclusion that i have arrived at which is the stand your ground law does not need to be changed. But that doesn't mean it's not a good therapeutic thing for the process to have folks that don't agree come and share their view and have the opportunity to make their case" said Gaetz.
Stand your ground has been under attack since the highly publicized Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case. Gaetz has not set the dates for the public hearings.