Florida House Speaker Calls for Hearing on "Stand Your Ground" Law

Will Weatherford made the announcement in an opinion piece he wrote for The Tampa Tribune

Saturday, Aug 3, 2013  |  Updated 1:19 PM CDT
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Fla. House Speaker Calls for Hearing on "Stand Your Ground"

AP

In this Jan. 30, 2013 file photo, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, speaks at a news conference at the Capitol during the The Associated Press' annual legislative planning session in Tallahassee.

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Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford is calling for a legislative hearing to review the state's "Stand Your Ground" law.

Weatherford made the announcement in an opinion piece he wrote for The Tampa Tribune that was printed Friday.

The Wesley Chapel Republican does not support repealing the law that became an issue in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. He also added that he could never envision the repeal of the "Stand Your Ground" law being passed by the Florida House.

But Weatherford said he wants a legislative committee to look at whether the law should be made clearer and whether it is being administered fairly.

"We shouldn't be scared of a debate or having an honest conversation," Weatherford said on Friday.

George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Martin in July. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in shooting the 17-year-old Martin during a fight; Martin's supporters say Zimmerman profiled and followed him because Martin was black.

Three days after the acquittal, protesters arrived at the Capitol. They have vowed not to leave until Gov. Rick Scott calls a special session to have legislators repeal the "Stand Your Ground" law as well as take up other measures dealing with racial profiling and the use of "zero tolerance" policies in the state's public schools.

The protest at the Capitol and organized by a group called the Dream Defenders started on July 16, and so far, the state has spent more than $100,000 in overtime costs on Capitol security costs. Protesters are allowed to come and go during the day, but they must remain in a designated area in the hallways after hours.

Weatherford called the protesters a "politically motivated" organization and said his decision to call for a hearing was not based on their continued presence at the Florida Capitol.

"They can stay there as long as they want to or they can go home," he said of the protesters.

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