Fla. gets divided opinions on self-defense laws

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Thousands of people across Florida and the nation are giving sharply divided opinions on the state's controversial self-defense laws.
 
A task force created by Gov. Rick Scott to look at the laws will hold its first public hearing Tuesday in Central Florida, close to where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman.

"Everybody needs to show up and say, 'I like this. I don't like this,'" Scott said.

Zimmerman has said he acted in self-defense. He was charged with second-degree murder after weeks of protest.
 
The task force has already received nearly 6,600 emails.

"My goal is to have people tell us what they think about it and get data," Scott said.

Some have strongly urged Scott to keep intact the "Stand your Ground" law that allows a person to meet force with force if they believe they are in danger.

"I believe in Stand your Ground. I am a big supporter of Stand your Ground. I am a big believer of the Second Amendment. I believe it is always good to look at everything," said Scott.

According to a study done by the Tampa Times of 200 cases, nearly 70 percent of those who have invoked the Stand your Ground law have gone free.

Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty, compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white person.

WFTV reporter Jorge Estevez asked Scott what he thought of those statistics.

 "Let's look at it and let's see if it is being applied wrongly," said Estevez.

"I don't believe it is, but we will find out," Scott asked.

"And if it is, will you stand behind revoking it?" Estevez asked.

"We'll see what the data says. My personal belief, I think it makes sense; Stand your Ground. I want to look at the data and if there are things we need to improve let's improve them," said Scott.

Others have complained it has turned Florida into the wild, wild west and have vowed to vacation elsewhere.