The gubernatorial task force set up earlier this year by Florida Gov. Rick Scott to examine that state’s “Stand Your Ground” law last night posted its draft report on the state’s website, and its recommendations probably won’t make self-defense opponents very happy.
However, Washington gun owners will quickly recognize that the standard which appears to remain intact is essentially the same that Evergreen State courts have affirmed for nearly a century. There is no duty to retreat from an attack if you are in a place that you have a right to be.
Right up front, the task force – headed by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll – made it abundantly clear that the Sunshine State is not going to tamper with the citizens’ right of self-defense.
“The Task Force concurs,” the report says, “with the core belief that all persons, regardless of citizenship status, have a right to feel safe and secure in our state. To that end, all persons have a fundamental right to stand their ground and defend themselves from attack with proportionate force in every place they have a lawful right to be and are conducting themselves in a lawful manner.”
Further, the task force recommends that the Florida Legislature review applicable standards for recognized neighborhood watch groups. This includes defining the limitations of such groups to be “observing, watching, and reporting potential criminal activity to law enforcement.”
“The participant’s purpose is not to pursue, confront, or provoke potential suspects,” the report says.
In addition, perhaps in direct response to the presumed scenario that preceded February’s fatal confrontation between neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman and 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the task force also recommends that authorities increase training and education regarding self-defense laws in the state, to “ensure uniform and fair application.”
This column discussed testimony the other day by former Bellevue resident Joe Waldron, now legislative director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Waldron, a veteran gun rights lobbyist who is well-known in Olympia, told Examiner that a link to the report appeared last evening on the state’s website. Surprisingly, it has not gotten much attention.
A full report should be released in December.
MEANWHILE, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal may have already fired the first shots in the 2016 presidential campaign with some blistering comments about his own Republican party.
Jindal, the pro-gun former congressman who co-sponsored the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006 with Sen. David Vitter, took off the gloves the other day when he said Republicans must end “dumbed-down conservatism.” He told a reporter that Republicans have to stop being “the stupid party.”
“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said, according to Politico. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”
He’s got three years to polish that message and drive it like a stake through the Republican establishment’s heart, or use it as a club to knock some political smarts into his colleagues’ heads. In the meantime, count on their-own-worst-enemies purist gun owners to find some reason to dislike Jindal, even though he governs one of the most pro-gun states in the union, where voters just amended the state constitution to strengthen Second Amendment rights.
“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal added. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
LASTLY, Washington’s recently-re-elected Sen. Maria Cantwell is hot on a report in this morning’s Seattle Times that West Coast oil refineries may have been playing games with gasoline availability and pricing this year. Right, who’d have thought?
This column’s disapproval of Cantwell’s voting record on gun rights is widely known, but in this case, she is spot-on. Gasoline prices have gouged everyone’s wallet this year, and particularly the “disposable income” of shooters and hunters. It takes gas to drive to the hunting camps and gun ranges, and get back again. It takes fuel to operate boat motors and ATVs. It’s difficult to buy a new gun or ammunition when you have to keep fuel in the tank to get back and forth to work and put food on the table at home, and pay the bills.
The Times picked up a report from the McClatchy newspapers that is an eye-opener. Cantwell wants an investigation, which may be long overdue.
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