Trayvon supporters gather, Stand Your Ground task force meeting

A panel assembled to review Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law met for the first time today to debate and discuss the intricacies and consequences of the 2005 legislation.

The first “Citizen Safety and Protection Task Force” that was open to the public was held at Northland Church in Longwood. A task force of elected officials, law enforcement and judges traded case studies and ethical arguments for several hours before opening up to public comment.

Jennifer Carroll, Florida’s lieutenant governor, who is presiding over the review, said that the work they are doing will have a real implications on the nation.

“What happens here will impact America,” Carroll said.

The review was initiated by Florida governor Rick Scott following international public outrage surrounding the shooting death of unarmed 17 year-old Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in February.

Zimmerman, 28, was initially not arrested following the incident, under the guides of the “stand your ground.” His statements to police indicated that Martin attacked him and that Zimmerman feared for his life.

Second-degree murder charges were brought against Zimmerman in April after governor Scott appointed a special prosecutor to the case. Zimmerman is currently being held in Seminole County.

Martin’s family and their attorneys were present at the meeting, and addressed the media before the floor was opened to public comment. They delivered a petition to the task force with over 300,000 signatures requesting repeal of the law.

“I don’t have anything against weapons. I don’t have anything against guns,” Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, said, “but please amend this law. Please review it.”

Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, went further in criticizing the legislation.

“It’s a bad law. The law gives the message that it’s ‘okay’ to be a vigilante,” Martin said. “The public is not going to stand for it and we certainly going to stand around for it.”