Florida Democrats are trying once more to repeal the state's"Stand Your Ground" self explanatory law, according to a new bill filed in the state Senate Thursday.
The Self-Defense Restoration Act would eliminate provisions in state legislation that say that an individual does not need to escape first before resorting to violence in self-defense. It would also expressly prohibit the use of deadly force if the individual acting in self knows they can avoid it by retreating.
"More important, it places Black people and other people of color in a greater risk of gun violence."
He had filed an equivalent bill in 2019 which failed.
Everytown USA, a gun-safety advocacy group that worked with Jones on the proposition, has argued that Stand Your Ground laws lead to over 1,800 additional shooting deaths a year.
On Friday, which Jones noted could have been Trayvon Martin's 26th birthday, that the state senator said passing his repeal of Stand Your Ground will be"a fantastic birthday present."
Martin was shot and murdered in 2012 after allegedly assaulting a Neighborhood Watch planner named George Zimmerman.
Florida's self-defense law has stirred controversy repeatedly in recent years following gun owners tried to utilize Stand Your Ground as a justification in a range of incidents because it passed in 2005. In addition to coming up in Martin's death, the law made national headlines in 2019 after Michael Drejka, a White man, shot and murdered Markeis McGlockton, who was Black, within an altercation about a parking space in Clearwater.
Prosecutors claimed that the law didn't apply in Drejka's case and he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Stand Your Ground created the right for gun owners to apply lethal force to defend themselves from threats no matter whether it was possible to escape first. In 2017, say legislators revised the law to set the burden of proof on prosecutors to curtail a Stand Your Ground claim rather than on defense lawyers to prove it.
The legislation says a shooting is justified if a reasonable person under the circumstances could believe they are in danger of death or great bodily injury. But in addition, it says the shooter could not have instigated the altercation.
Critics have argued that many gun deaths can be avoided if people were needed to open fire only as a last resort.