The stand your ground law in Florida has kept the state at the center of the heated debates surrounding this issue. The law was passed in 2005 and allows a person to use deadly force if they think they are in imminent danger of being killed or injured. The current law doesn’t require a person to try to flee the dangerous situation before using that force.
The issue that many have with stand your ground is that it is sometimes cited in situations that opponents of the law feel wouldn’t require the use of a firearm. A recent case in the media — involving a handicapped parking spot incident that led to a man shooting another who had pushed him — has once again brought the matter to the forefront of the public’s mind.
A wide-open berth
One thing that sets Florida apart from many other states with similar laws is that there isn’t the requirement to retreat. This means that even in a public place with others around, the person can still use deadly force if they think they are in danger. Parking lots, for example, might be the site of a shooting, even if there are shoppers and vehicles in the immediate vicinity.
Some states have a law similar to stand your ground, known as the castle doctrine. In these states, the person can only use deadly force if they are in their own home and sometimes in their business or automobile. Florida doesn’t use this standard, so legal gun owners have a wide berth for when they feel they need to use deadly force.
The aftermath of an incident
Even when you think that you’ve applied the stand your ground law appropriately, you might find yourself amid repercussions. In the previously mentioned handicapped parking lot case, the man who killed the other man is facing manslaughter charges. The burden now falls on the prosecution to show that use of deadly force can’t be justified but this man is still behind bars while his case moves through the court system.
One thing that is universal in all stand your ground cases is that the accused person is facing a tough road. They should ensure they have an understanding of what Florida laws will apply to the case, so they can work on their defense. Ideally, they will have help from someone very familiar with these laws.