Despite Strong Opposition from Gun Violence Prevention Advocates, Survivors and Florida’s State Prosecutors, Governor Scott Signs SB 128 Which Will Effectively Require Stand Your Ground Defendants to Be Convicted Twice, Once in Front of a Judge and Once In Front of a Jury
Governor’s Decision Comes Days Before One-Year Mark of Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando and the Start of the First National DisarmHate Week; Fact Sheet on Gun Violence and Hate Crimes Highlights that 8,000 Hate Crimes Involving A Gun Are Committed in U.S. Each Year – More than 20 Every Day
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lucy McBath, faith and outreach leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, whose son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in a Florida gas station parking lot in a dispute over loud music, today released the following statement denouncing Governor Rick Scott’s signing of SB 128, legislation that would expand Florida’s already lethal Stand Your Ground law. SB 128 would flip the burden of proof in pretrial immunity hearings to prosecutors, effectively requiring Stand Your Ground defendants to be convicted twice, once in front of a judge and once in front of a jury.
The bill faced opposition from gun violence prevention advocates, gun violence survivors and Florida state prosecutors, who all testified numerous times against the bill during the legislative session. More information about Stand Your Ground is available here.
The Governor’s decision comes days before the one-year mark of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting. This week, Everytown and Moms Demand Action announced they will be partnering with a coalition of organizations for #DisarmHate Week from June 12-18 – which includes the days marking one year since the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando (June 12) and two years since the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston (June 17) – to honor victims of hate-fueled gun violence in America and to demand that political leaders do more to prevent the approximately 8,000 hate crimes committed with guns that occur every year in America.
STATEMENT FROM LUCY MCBATH, MOTHER OF SLAIN TEEN JORDAN DAVIS AND FAITH AND OUTREACH LEADER FOR EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY AND MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA:
“Just days ago, I got on the phone with Governor Scott and pleaded with him to reject this bill, which will make it harder for families to get the justice they deserve after a loved one is shot and killed. I told him how hard it was to go through trials twice after Jordan was murdered. I asked him to please consider how this bill would hurt Florida families. Today, Governor Scott signed this deadly bill into law on the very same day he proclaimed June 12th as Pulse Memorial Day. Not only am I outraged, I find this to be tone-deaf and hypocritical.
“Expanding Stand Your Ground would send a clear message to communities of color in Florida – that we are not welcome or safe in this state. This new law will only encourage more violence, making it easier for hate-motivated gun criminals to avoid prosecution. More than 8,000 gun-related hate crimes take place in our country every year, and now with this already deadly law expanded, I fear even more violence for Florida’s marginalized communities. The citizens of Florida deserve better than someone who kowtows to the gun lobby.
“Next week, organizations across the country will be joining forces for #DisarmHate Week, to honor those killed at the Orlando and Charleston tragedies, and to honor those who have died from hate-fueled attacks, like my dear son, Jordan. I hope the Governor will take a lesson from those bravely standing up to protect the lives of marginalized groups, including communities of color. I am frustrated, but we will keep fighting. Lives are on the line, and I refuse to sit quietly by while the cowardice of some state leaders paves a deadly future for our families and communities.”