Central Florida 'Stand Your Ground' lawmaker speaks out

Nation reels over George Zimmerman trial verdict

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - As the national reels over the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, Local 6 spoke to a local lawmaker who helped write the original "Stand Your Ground."

Florida State Senator David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, helped write the original "Stand Your Ground" law in 2005.

"What we've done is made Florida a safer place for you, for me and our children," said Simmons in his downtown Orlando office.

He says before 2005, a man with a knife who attacked a woman could come back and sue her for fighting him off.

"Should you also be entitled to grab that wrist and turn that knife away from yourself -- stand your ground?" he asked.

Under the Stand Your Ground law in Florida, you can claim it in court if:

  • You're attacked in your home or a public area¬†
  • You're not doing anything illegal
  • You didn't start the fight -- or provoke it
  • Only if you believe your life is in jeopardy.

Getting rid of the "Stand Your Ground" law has become the mantra for demonstrations like one last night in Downtown Orlando. A sentiment that's causing pressure from around the nation.

But Simmons says if "Stand Your Ground" was done away with, the previous law wouldn't have helped anyone.

"The prior Florida law was anti-woman, anti-minority, anti-victim.  It was pro-criminal," he said.

One man has been protesting the demonstrations against the law since the verdict was handed down on Saturday.

Casey Kole confronted a group of about 1,200 demonstrators at Wednesday night's "No Justice, No Sleep" rally in downtown Orlando. People in the crowd grabbed his sign, taking it away from him.

"It's a terrible decision to have to make, but when you're faced with those circumstances, you're in a life-threatening situation, you really don't have that much time to react," Kole said.

He said people need to be responsible when using "Stand Your Ground," following the law.

He wouldn't say if he intends on participating in future rallies, but he said he wouldn't rule it out, either.

Copyright 2013 by ClickOrlando.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.