Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law has surfaced just in time for November’s gubernatorial election, and it is forcing Democratic candidates into a corner, Politico reports.
Black leaders and gun control groups are demanding the repeal of the law in the wake of last month’s fatal shooting of Markeis McGlockton last month in Clearwater. McGlockton’s killer, Michael Drejka, remains free after the county sheriff refused to arrest him under Stand Your Ground laws.
Republicans and the NRA say the law is sound, but they also believe Drejka should be arrested, that the law doesn not protect his actions: shooting at a retreating McGlockton.
“I support the right of Floridians to defend themselves by standing their ground against aggressors,” top Republican gubernatorial candidate and Rep. Ron DeSantis told Politico. “That said, it doesn’t seem to me that the law is even applicable in the case of Markeis McGlockton, and I don’t think the Pinellas County Sheriff analyzed the law properly.”
Democratic candidates will have no such luxury of discernment.
“Stand Your Ground is going to be one of the top — if not the top — issues for voters of color, because we see the deadly consequences first hand,” Benjamin Crump, attorney for McGlockton’s family, told Politico. “If you want black people to show up to the polls, this is what matters to them.”
Crump was also the attorney who repped the family of Trayvon Martin, shot and killed by George Zimmerman in 2012, in a case that thrust the law into a national spotlight.
The NRA continues to defend the law, which it helped to write in 2005, but accused the sheriff for misapplying the law in the McGlockton case.
“Nothing in either the 2005 law or the 2017 law prohibits a Sheriff from making an arrest in a case where a person claims self-defense if there is probable cause that the use of force was unlawful,” Marion Hammer, Tallahassee’s NRA lobbyist, told Politico.
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