Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has re-emerged once again in national headlines after the Florida Sheriff’s Association unanimously voted to support the law. Why, then, does the “Stand Your Ground” law receive such resounding support within Florida’s sheriff community, but almost entirely negative play in our nation’s media?
Perhaps because nobody has bothered to read the law. For your convenience, the text of the law is provided below:
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity, and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
F. S. §776.013(3)
Effectively, the law does not require a person to turn their back to an attacker and run before using reasonable force in return. The law allows deadly force, but in no way encourages deadly force. And, you cannot be in the commission of a crime and use “Stand Your Ground” to escape responsibility.
For clarity, let’s break out the law’s meaning:
- You cannot be in the commission of a crime and claim “Stand Your Ground”
- You can use force, including deadly force, to prevent harm to yourself or others
- If deadly force is used, it must be reasonable
This law represents a more than reasonable attempt at allowing Florida state citizens to properly defend themselves without the potentially more dangerous attempt of turning their back to a threat and running away. Nobody should be required to run and hide before they attempt to defend themselves, and Floridians do not have to. Sheriffs support it.