Stand Your Ground laws have been in place in many states around the country for years. Some laws are good, others not so much.
Bad SYG laws assume a person using self-defense is guilty before being proven innocent, and make the person who uses SYG as self-defense prove their innocence. Good SYG laws make it so the person invoking them as a defense are innocent until proven otherwise by a prosecutor. That’s just what they passed into law in Florida. As reported by The Hill:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has signed into law a strengthened version of the famous “stand your ground” law that was cited in the jury instructions in the 2012 trial for the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin that eventually acquitted neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
The previous version of Florida’s law, signed in 2005, required defendants to prove that they had used force in self defense. The version signed into law Friday shifts that burden to prosecutors, who now must prove that a “stand your ground” defense is not applicable, according to Reuters.
Of course, Zimmerman did not use the existing Stand Your Ground laws as a defense during that trial. CNN noted that:
George Zimmerman, set to stand trial in the 2012 shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, on Tuesday waived his right to a “stand your ground” pretrial immunity hearing. Zimmerman’s attorneys have decided they will try this as a self-defense case.
This bill is a win for law-abiding citizens who use firearms in self-defense. In Florida, they will no longer be treated like criminals who dared to protect their lives or the lives of their families. The prosecution will now have to prove they weren’t protecting themselves in self-defense with this law.