Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has called on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to suspend the state’s infamous “Stand Your Ground” law until legislators can clear up confusion about how to apply it. This comes in the aftermath of a local sheriff declining to arrest the white man who shot and killed Markeis McGlockton and the debate among gun rights advocates about whether the sheriff misapplied the law.
“I don’t believe Stand Your Ground has a place in civilized society,” the Democratic candidate for governor stated at a press conference.
“The consequence of confusion over how Stand Your Ground is applied in this state can result in the loss of life of otherwise innocent people,” he added, noting that it’s an emergency when folks have to worry about someone shooting them or their children.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gaultieri announced July 20 that Stand Your Ground prevented him from charging Michael Drejka after he fatally shot 27-year-old McGlockton one day earlier in a Clearwater convenience store parking lot.
McGlockton pushed Drejka to the ground after McGlockton came out the store and saw Drejka arguing with his girlfriend about a handicap parking space. The law protects shooters who claim that they feared for their life during an encounter. But there’s no standard about what constitutes legitimate fear.
McGlockton’s family attorney, Ben Crump, blasted Stand Your Ground in an interview on Sunday because of the racial “double standard” in how Florida enforces the law that George Zimmerman also used after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. In effect, the law allows white shooters to get away with murder, Crump explained.
Some Florida Republicans and gun rights groups, including the National Rifle Association, have argued that the sheriff could have charged Drejka with a crime, Politico reported. However, their criticism of Gaultieri was likely motivated by election year politics.
Gillum urged Scott to invoke a provision in the Governor’s Emergency Management Powers that allows the suspension of any statute if compliance would “delay necessary action in coping with the emergency,” the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
However, the governor doesn’t intend to suspend the law or call for a special legislative session to clear up any confusion, the newspaper stated. Meanwhile, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus said Monday that its members plan to file Stand Your Ground legislation for the 2019 session.