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White Floridians Back ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Even in the face of national scrutiny, Stand Your Ground is not backing down in Florida: A poll released Thursday shows that Florida voters still back the law with a strong majority—56 percent in support and just 35 percent opposing it.

The law, which authorizes citizens to match “force with force,” is at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting case, and is the reason that George Zimmerman was not arrested by police the night of the incident.

Florida is well known for its pro-gun legislation, and the 2005 passing of Stand Your Ground has been a source of controversy since its inception. Originally drafted by the National Rifle Association, the law has led to multiple acquittals and overturned decisions in years prior to the Martin case. In fact, between 2005-2010, the number of “justifiable” deaths in Florida rose by 283 percent, as reported by CBS Miami.

According to the poll, the only majority opposition to the law comes from the African-American community, and understandably so. Blacks oppose the law 56-30 percent, while whites were found to be in support 61-31 percent. The Martin case has raised calls for reform within the state, but they remain in the minority. Democratic senator Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale is one of the few.

“Floridians love their guns,” Smith told the Miami Herald. “And they love the idea of Stand Your Ground. But when they learn it gives shooters immunity from arrest — when they learn it gives a tremendous presumption used by gangsters and thugs — then even my conservative friends think it should be changed.”

With Zimmerman’s murder trial set to begin, Stand Your Ground will be at the center of the case. Though the national opinion of the law is largely negative, Zimmerman’s Florida peers and judge may

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