Rep. who backed stand your ground: 'If law goes away, consequences won't be good'



ORLANDO, Fla. - One of the men responsible for the stand your ground law in Florida said he doesn't think the law should change.

State Rep. Dennis Baxley said he feels most Floridia residents like the ability to defend themselves against an attacker and don't want the law amended.

Channel 9's Greg Warmoth talked with the Republican from Ocala on the heels of George Zimmerman acquittal of second-degree murder charges in 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death.

When the not guilty verdict was read earlier this month, there were cries for changes to Florida's stand your ground law.

Even though that statute wasn't used by Zimmerman's defense team, critics have called for the law to be abolished or at the least tweaked.

"We don't need to react, but we need to listen and be responsive," said Baxley, one of the bill's cosponsors in 2005.

Baxley said research shows the law is actually used as a defense by a greater percentage of blacks than any other race and he isn't sure those against it know what would be lost if it goes away or is amended.

"They benefited from the protections of this statute. There are going to be African-American men and women that go to jail if we didn't have this statute," said Baxley.

Zimmerman didn't use stand your ground in court, rather self-defense.  Baxley said if stand your ground goes away, the consequences won't be good.

"We don't believe any law-abiding citizen of any background should be beaten or raped or murdered and wonder whether or not they're going to be treated as a criminal for stopping a violent act," he said.

Baxley has heard the threats of boycotting Florida but said people will run out of states to visit as there are 30 right now with some form of stand your ground law.

A town hall discussion on stand your ground will be held at the FAMU College of Law on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Sens. Geraldine Thompson and Chris Smith will be on the panel.