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Thread: Florida's Stand Your Ground Law

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    Florida's Stand Your Ground Law

    Over the past couple of days this story has been all over the news. I don't know if it has made it overseas.

    A 17 year old black youth was shot dead by a white male. The white male thought the black youth was up to no good; however, he actually lived in the area and was just walking home from buying some candy. On the recordings of the calls to the police from neighbors, you can hear the youth screaming for help (the family has identified the voice as his) and then the gun shot. Yet the white male is using a Florida law that states you are allowed to use deadly force if you are in a place you have a right to be and you feel reasonably threatened with serious harm.

    The Federal prosecutors and the FBI are now investigating as the Florida cops hands are tied.

    Here is an article about this situation:

    Does Florida law let killers go free?
    By Jeffrey Toobin, CNN Senior Legal Analyst
    updated 5:33 PM EDT, Tue March 20, 2012

    Editor's note: Jeffrey Toobin is a senior legal analyst for CNN and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where he covers legal affairs.


    (CNN) -- Trayvon Martin went out to buy some Skittles -- and was shot dead before he made it home. The case is horrifying, maddening, grotesque. And -- perhaps worst of all -- there may be nothing Florida law enforcement can do about it.


    As the world now knows, the 17-year-old Martin walked to a store in Orlando to buy some snacks on the night of February 26. George Zimmerman, a volunteer Neighborhood Watch captain, thought the boy looked suspicious and called 911. The 911 operator told Zimmerman to keep his distance -- police would be sent -- but there was a confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin. Martin was killed with a single shot to the chest. Florida authorities have not arrested Zimmerman, and federal authorities recently joined the investigation.


    The legal question at the heart of the case involves Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law, which the legislature passed, at the behest of the National Rifle Association, in 2005. Before that time, Florida law resembled that of most other states; during confrontations, individuals had a duty to retreat rather than to respond to provocations. Under the new law, a person is allowed to use deadly force if he is in a place he has a right to be and feels reasonably threatened with serious harm.


    In this case, then, the question is whether Zimmerman was in such a place and felt reasonably threatened. The 911 operator told Zimmerman to keep his distance from Martin, but Zimmerman had a right to be on the street. That's where neighborhood watch volunteers work.


    Clearly, the question at the heart of the case is whether Zimmerman reasonably felt threatened. On this issue, the evidence currently seems murky. There appears to have been some sort of confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin. Police found Zimmerman with an injury to his head. Most important -- and most tragic -- the police will hear only one side of the story about this confrontation. Trayvon is not around to tell his story. The continuing investigation will surely focus on finding other witnesses.


    The facts of this case show why the "stand your ground" law is so important. The law focuses on the subjective understanding of the shooter. Was his understanding of the situation "reasonable"? Ultimately, that would be a question for the jury to decide, but it still gives a lot of deference to the perpetrator of a violent act. The new law even allows a disproportionate response; if someone comes at you with a fist, you can reply with a gun.

    In light of the shift in the law, it's not surprising that since the law went into effect, reports of justifiable homicides have tripled, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.


    Another case under litigation in Florida highlights the effect of the law. In September 2010, David James was playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter on an outdoor court in Valrico. A boy was skateboarding on the court at the same time, and Trevor Dooley, a man who lived in the area, told the boy he shouldn't be skateboarding there. James stood up for the boy, and he and Dooley had a confrontation.


    Dooley was carrying a gun and wound up shooting James dead. Dooley asserted that he felt threatened by James, and has asked that the case be dismissed before trial under the "stand your ground" law. (The judge will soon make a ruling.)


    In both of these cases -- in the deaths of both James and Martin -- the legal defense for the shooters appears to rely almost completely on the "stand your ground" law. In the death of David James, prosecutors are doing their best against tough odds. In the death of Trayvon Martin, it's prosecutors who are taking the heat for failing, thus far, to bring any charges against George Zimmerman.


    But this outrage, understandable though it is, might be directed somewhere else as well. The Florida legislators who voted for the "stand your ground" law -- and Gov. Jeb Bush, who signed it -- have something to answer for as well.
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    Under this law I can give only one suggestion - shoot first
    I personally think there are way too many guns in US in hands of people whose judgment is very questionable

    I'll just give you an example. To get a handgun or a long gun (smoothbore or rifled) permit in Illinois (the sate with fairly strict firearms rules) and if you are older than 21 all what you need to do is to fill up application for permit (can be done online) and send it through mail for approval. That's basically it. No psychological or medical evaluation, no interview

    And this is an example of Russian law
    First of all - regular person cannot get a permit for handgun, at all
    Second, permit for a long gun can only be given per gun basis. Basically you have to get a permit for each gun you are going to buy, separately
    To get a permit a person goes through the following steps
    1. Psychological evaluation
    2. Drug screen and drug usage history evaluation
    3. Medical evaluation
    4. Applying for permit
    5. Given permit allowing buying 1 smoothbore long gun in a half a year period. If person haven't bought a gun in half a year period then the person should re-apply for the permit
    6. Purchased smoothbore long gun has to be registered using the same permit in the same organization which provided the permit.
    7. Not earlier than in five years after registering a smoothbore long gun a person could apply for a permit for a rifled long gun

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    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    And this is an example of Russian law
    Well, it has nothing to do with the guns, it is just a country of bureaucracy. It is not important what do you want to do, you have to get a two pieces of papers and in order to get them you need to get a two another pieces... and so on and on in geometric progression. And it is not as simple as to come and get, it is probably you will have to give a bribe to get them. There are billions of examples out there, even big corporations like Samsung are giving up to do a business in Russia. From recently: dirty.ru
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    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    Well, it has nothing to do with the guns, it is just a country of bureaucracy.
    It has everything to do with the guns
    US has a lot of bureaucracy not less than Russia
    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    even big corporations like Samsung are giving up to do a business in Russia.
    Samsungs is one of the major brands on Russian market I'm not quite sure how it's "giving up"

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    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    Ramil, what would you say about that? I think you were a huge advocate of allowing every person to carry any weapon of his choice and use it whenever you feel right.

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    The Stand Your Ground law is unbelievable. The definitions are too vague ("feel threatened"?), it almost encourages people to react with extreme violence to any minor provocation, promising them a way out and an opportunity to walk free after murdering (even) an unarmed person.

    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    Well, it has nothing to do with the guns, it is just a country of bureaucracy.
    It's not just bureaucracy. An ordinary citizen literally can't get hold of a "real" handgun in Russia or Ukraine. No amount of papers can change that. Even to apply for so called "traumatic" gun, which shoots plastic bullets, you must belong to a certain category of people (a deputy, a court worker or a judge, a journalist, etc.), and you need to get a huge amount of papers without any guarantee that your wish will be granted.

    I wanted once to visit a legal shooting gallery, where you can shoot the targets from their weapon under supervision, and it turned out I still had to get all these papers, including the one that says I was never put on trial for felony. I've never gone there after all, too much trouble.

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quick comment about a sentence in the news story:

    The new law even allows a disproportionate response; if someone comes at you with a fist, you can reply with a gun.
    I would argue that if the person with the gun is a 100-lb., 5'3" (45 kg, 1.6 m) woman and the person with the fists is a 200-lb., 6'3" (90 kg, 2 m) man who's looking for someone to rape, using the gun is hardly "disproportionate"!

    After all, a so-called "proportionate response" in such a case (that is, fist to fist) would almost certainly end with the woman being severely beaten and raped, even if she's a black belt in karate.

    That's the theoretical rationale for making private gun ownership relatively simple -- a gun can help to balance the odds between a small, weak victim and a large, strong attacker, or between one victim and a whole gang of attackers.

    P.S. With that point made, it's important to note that in this case, the shooter Zimmerman was about 45 kilos heavier than the victim Martin, who was unarmed and walking alone -- which makes the "reasonably felt threatened" defense rather less believable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    After all, a so-called "proportionate response" in such a case (that is, fist to fist) would almost certainly end with the woman being severely beaten and raped, even if she's a black belt in karate.
    There is also a high chance that the woman will be shot from her own gun in this situation

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    P.S. With that point made, it's important to note that in this case, the shooter Zimmerman was about 45 kilos heavier than the victim Martin, who was unarmed and walking alone -- which makes the "reasonably felt threatened" defense rather less believable.
    The law itself makes any person (A) in any situation "reasonably threatened" because the person (A) has reasons to think that the another person (B) can have a gun and be "reasonably threatened" enough to shoot person (A). So the person (A) is threatened enough to shoot person (B).


    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka View Post
    Even to apply for so called "traumatic" gun, which shoots plastic bullets, you must belong to a certain category of people (a deputy, a court worker or a judge, a journalist, etc.), and you need to get a huge amount of papers without any guarantee that your wish will be granted
    In Russia many people have got a "traumatic". It is not too difficult to get it. One just need to pass all the paper work and to have no criminal records.
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    It has everything to do with the guns
    US has a lot of bureaucracy not less than Russia
    Actually there are a lot of reasons why Russian authorities are chickened out to allow citizens have guns. Public moods quite furious here and there are reasons for that. So nobody can pass psychological evaluation and that is why it was included:
    - Do you like Putin's regime?
    - Yes, definitely.
    - But you've been working as a teacher for a 12 years and your maXimum wage never been beyond $3
    - It's ok.
    - But you're living in the richest country in natural resources.
    - Argh...
    - Next!
    I'm just kidding of course...

    Concerning the topic it's very controversial. But it is quite clear that half measures are unacceptable. If one person can have a gun and another can't then it puts them in the unequal positions. Crimes can afford weapons in any way, they don't need to fill the applications, but if a regular person was refused in getting gun (s)he can't do much to remedy the situation. So it is a good idea that anyone can have a gun, but for using it with lethal outcome shooter must be punished to life imprisonment in any case whether he was an attacker or an defender.
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    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    Concerning the topic it's very controversial. But it is quite clear that half measures are unacceptable. If one person can have a gun and another can't then it puts them in the unequal positions....
    So it is a good idea that anyone can have a gun
    May I suggest to give a handgun to every inmate in every prison and see how they behave, let's equalize everybody

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    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    Actually there are a lot of reasons why Russian authorities are chickened out to allow citizens have guns.
    Actually I'm more concern why the US government gone mad and allows guns to basically everybody, even idiots, clearly

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    (Вытерто. Л.)
    Last edited by Lampada; March 23rd, 2012 at 12:16 PM. Reason: Ооскорбительное выражениее.

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    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    Actually there are a lot of reasons why Russian authorities are chickened out to allow citizens have guns. Public moods quite furious here and there are reasons for that. So nobody can pass psychological evaluation and that is why it was included:
    - Do you like Putin's regime?
    - Yes, definitely.
    - But you've been working as a teacher for a 12 years and your maXimum wage never been beyond $3
    - It's ok.
    - But you're living in the richest country in natural resources.
    - Argh...
    - Next!
    I'm just kidding of course...

    Concerning the topic it's very controversial. But it is quite clear that half measures are unacceptable. If one person can have a gun and another can't then it puts them in the unequal positions. Crimes can afford weapons in any way, they don't need to fill the applications, but if a regular person was refused in getting gun (s)he can't do much to remedy the situation. So it is a good idea that anyone can have a gun, but for using it with lethal outcome shooter must be punished to life imprisonment in any case whether he was an attacker or an defender.
    That makes no sense.

    So, criminals can get guns easily but law-abiding people cannot and get life imprisonment even if they defend themselves from harm?

    The Americans had the principle of freedom to bear arms because the Founding Fathers believed they needed a method to guard against Government infringing against the citizens and abusing their power.

    It had nothing to do with enabling idiots and irrational dimwits and others from either getting guns or being against others having guns.

    Of course Commie-worshiping Soviets (on here) would not comprehend the concept or principle at all but at least they had brainwashing to discourage their understanding. Americans have no such excuse. :=)

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    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    May I suggest to give a handgun to every inmate in every prison and see how they behave, let's equalize everybody
    May I criticise your idea? Inmates were placed in prison for a reason and they do not need equalization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    Actually I'm more concern why the US government gone mad and allows guns to basically everybody, even idiots, clearly
    Ok, here you are: in 1987 in Florida was passed a law allowing citizens to carry weapons and number of murders decreased by 36%. And in general, the states that allows carry weapons have lower level of crime than in the states which not allows to carry the guns.
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    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavelov View Post
    So, criminals can get guns easily but law-abiding people cannot and get life imprisonment even if they defend themselves from harm?
    Not sure why you cite me wrong and say that law-abiding people cannot easily get guns. My point is that everybody should easily get guns. Well, except obvious persons with Down syndrome. Why life inprisonment? Basic idea here is that if there is possibility to evade penalty then people would use it. Let's take a look at that Zimmerman. He tells that he defended himself so when he was pulling the trigger he already knew that he can say it. No witnesses, then survivor is right - that is how the system works now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    May I criticise your idea? Inmates were placed in prison for a reason and they do not need equalization.
    So the Russian law moved a little bit further and came up with other reasons
    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    Ok, here you are: in 1987 in Florida was passed a law allowing citizens to carry weapons and number of murders decreased by 36%. And in general, the states that allows carry weapons have lower level of crime than in the states which not allows to carry the guns.
    right, this is a nice word play from NRA. Murders maybe decreased but not homicides
    Let's see the changes from 2005, shall we?
    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom View Post
    In light of the shift in the law, it's not surprising that since the law went into effect, reports of justifiable homicides have tripled, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavelov View Post
    Yep, they'd probably let even you have a gun.
    hopefully the moderator will punish this troll

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    I hate idea to bear the gun all my life, I would prefer to walk in the streets wearing only shorts and T-shirts.
    At the same time, while walking in shorts I do not want to come across someone with guns and trained fists.

    So, ideally, any weapon should be prohibited, but first animals must be removed from the society.
    People are rarely becoming bastards с бухты-барахты (out of a blue sky). Usually they launch aggression since their very childhood. Something has to be done with them as early as possible. Imprisonments for children are not applied, and do not work for adults. I cannot think of anything better, than huge reservations, where all murders are sent to. They can do whatever they want there, but cannot leave the area. Do you think, guys, is this idea as Utopian as Communism? May be, more real thing would be to allow victims to shoot the criminals after they are caught ?

    Short story 1: There was the gang in our school. They had been beating someone every day. And every day the chief of school blamed them. They were agreeing, that their behavior was not good, and promised to stop violence. There was no mechanism to deal with them somehow. Many students were injured. We can only guess, how many people they killed since then. Probably, they spent most of time in the prison, but what good is it for the normal people?

    Short story 2: You see, many Russians drink a lot. Even nicest person could become very dangerous when drunk (this is how alcohol effects 10..15% of men, according to my observations).
    Once we were resting in the forest, drinking (it is called "to hunt"). One acquaintance of us, who was huntsman, after first 100 g , threw his rifle and keys under the car. Why? He knew, that he could shoot someone without reason, and knew, that he is not able to reach out the rifle out of under the car in the dark if he is too drunk.

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    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by delog
    Ok, here you are: in 1987 in Florida was passed a law allowing citizens to carry weapons and number of murders decreased by 36%. And in general, the states that allows carry weapons have lower level of crime than in the states which not allows to carry the guns.
    right, this is a nice word play from NRA. Murders maybe decreased but not homicides
    What is the difference between murders and homicides? Did you mean murder|er|s? If you did, then I didn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    Let's see the changes from 2005, shall we?
    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    In light of the shift in the law, it's not surprising that since the law went into effect, reports of justifiable homicides have tripled, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
    That is exactly I'm talking about. This law (stand your ground) is a rubbish. Everybody should be punished for murdering.
    English as a Second Language by Jeff McQuillan and Lucy Tse.

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