Sen. Chris Smith calls for Senate panel on ‘Stand Your Ground’

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Minority Leader Chris Smith asked Senate President Gaetz on Tuesday to form a select committee to examine Florida’s self-defense laws, particularly the controversial “stand your ground” law. The laws have come under heavy scrutiny since the July 13 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin in Seminole County.

Smith referred to an Aug. 2 memo in which Gaetz wrote that no senators had approached him with a specific proposal. “Mr. President, please consider this my specific proposal: First, I respectfully request that you convene a Senate Select Committee to examine Florida’s self-defense laws, specifically as they relate to Stand Your Ground, and whether changes need to be made to better protect our citizens,” Smith wrote in a letter Tuesday. “I would like to serve as a member of that committee.” Also, Smith requested that “stand your ground” bills being drafted for the 2014 legislative session be placed first on the committee’s agenda for a hearing. Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders have rejected calls to hold a special legislative session on the “stand your ground” issue.