Rep. Darryl Rouson calls for Special Session over “Stand Your Ground” law

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The shooting death of Trayvon Martin has a lot of people talking about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, reports Bay News 9.

The law allows people to protect themselves in the face of deadly force, but a new question has arisen in the wake of Martin’s death, as people try to understand whether it applies to the man who shot him.

Now some critics are calling for a special legislative session to put new limits on when it can and can’t be used.

Back in 2005, the Florida Legislature passed the “Stand Your Ground” law overwhelmingly.  It was billed as a way to keep innocent people from becoming victims by giving them the right to fire at will when they are under attack.

But since then, the number of justifiable killings in Florida has nearly tripled.  The latest example is George Zimmerman’s use of the law to justify pulling the trigger on Martin.  Zimmerman maintains that he shot and killed Martin in self-defense.

Now Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said lawmakers should convene a special session.

“Certainly, the law ought to be revisited,” he said. “It absolutely should be clarified and explained, because I think there’s a lot of doubt out there about how it’s applied and how people understand when they can really use it.”

The law can only be used in situations of self-defense, but just what those situations are is largely undefined.

That’s why a growing chorus of Democratic legislators want to clarify that before another death like Trayvon Martin’s comes to pass.

However, Tallahassee’s majority Republicans have no intention of calling a special session – at least, not yet.

Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, is concerned about a rush to judgment.

“I think it’s very important that we not make an emotional decision based on…that we really look at the facts, we look at the law and the totality of the information that we have at the end of the time that the prosecutors make this report.”

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.