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Most don’t understand difference between ‘stand your ground’ law, self-defense

Attorney Mark O’Mara says law could be clarified

ORLANDO, Fla. – Mark O'Mara, the Orlando-based attorney who gained notoriety for defending George Zimmerman said Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law needs more clarity.

The law is getting national attention again, after surveillance video in Pinellas County showed a man shooting and killing another man after an argument over a handicap parking spot. The shooter has not been charged.

"I believe in the rule of law, and that my obligation is to follow its dictates. I don't make the law and I do not do what people want because of outrage," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

O'Mara said he understands both sides but adds that the "stand your ground" law, in general, could be better written so more people can understand it.

"I think the law and people’s understanding of this law is not completely accurate and that they probably believe they are more protected in defending themselves," O'Mara said.

O’Mara said a lot of people don’t understand the difference between the “stand your ground” law and self-defense.

"The difference is only I had the opportunity to retreat," said O'Mara describing self-defense. For the stand your ground law he said, "You have to be reasonably in fear of imminent great bodily injury."

O'Mara said the "stand your ground" law has been used to protect people who misinterpret this law.

"I think the law and people’s understanding of this law is not completely accurate and that they probably believe they are more protected in defending themselves," O'Mara said.

O’Mara represented Zimmerman in 2012 when he was acquitted for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, who was not armed. In that case, O’Mara used self-defense for his client, not the "stand your ground" law.

Ashley Moody, candidate for Florida attorney general, recently spoke with News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth on "The Weekly" about stand your ground.

“There is an absolute need to be able to codify the natural right of self-defense, and we’ve done that in Florida,” Moody said.


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