November 8, 2013
Florida lawmakers have repudiated the Dream Defenders and supporters of Trayvon Martin who tried to get Stand Your Ground overturned in the state.
The Florida House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to not only defend the self-defense law, but expand it.
“Stand your ground is core to the American way of life,” Republican State Rep. Jimmie T. Smith said, MSNBC reports.
“I don’t support changing one damn comma of the stand your ground law,”said State Rep. Matt Gaetz in August. Gaetz oversaw Thursday’s subcommittee hearing on the law. Around 300 people attended the hearing.
“Today, our state is a safer place and has the lowest crime rate in 42 years,” said Republican Rep. Marti Coley, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “Florida’s ‘stand your ground’ law is solid. It’s good and should not be changed.”
The hearing commenced after an activist group, the Dream Defenders, held a month-long protest outside Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office. They demanded the state hold a special legislative session to consider repealing the law. Scott refused the demand, but House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Republican, moved to hold a hearing.
In July, it was discovered that the Dream Defenders activist group has connections to Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks, attorneys for the family of Trayvon Martin. The activist group was instrumental in pushing for the arrest of George Zimmerman and the removal of the police chief in Sanford, Florida, for his role in an investigation of the fatal shooting of Martin in February, 2012. The Dream Defenders also spearheaded efforts for nationwide protests after Zimmerman was acquitted.
“The Dream Defenders has been actively involved in whipping up the frenzy against Zimmerman, the city of Sanford and its former police chief Bill Lee, without revealing that the group’s coordinator says that she works for Parks and Crump,” Lee Stranahan wrote for Breitbart News on July 15, 2013.
Breitbart also reported details provided by government watchdog group Judicial Watch demonstrating how Obama’s Justice Department had worked closely with Dream Defenders activists through its Community Relations Service.
The group also worked with the NAACP and Florida Legal Services, Inc., to produce a report that alleges self defense and the castle doctrine are racially discriminatory. The report recommends the passage and implementation of draconian anti-Second Amendment laws.
Following the move to bolster and expand Stand Your Ground and the natural right of self defense, the Justice Department supported group taunted Rep. Matt Gaetz for his “comma” comment and promised they would not give up the fight to eliminate an individual’s right to self defense.
— The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) November 8, 2013