Tracy Martin calls for "stand your ground" repeal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Tracy Martin — father of slain teenager Trayvon Martin — was in the capital Thursday to continue his fight against Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Martin, state Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahasee, state attorney Willie Meggs, public defender Nancy Daniels and others took part in a Florida A&M panel called "Stand Your Ground Law: Where Do We Go From Here?"

Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in July in the slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford in February 2011. He had claimed he shot the teen in self-defense, citing the state's stand your ground law.

Tracy Martin called for a repeal at Thursday's discussion, while others suggested changes in the language of "stand your ground." Williams has backed the repeal, but also supports tweaks to the current legislation.

"I really don't think this law is fair in any way, shape or form," Martin said. "Only two people are involved in the case and one is dead, so how can you determine who was the aggressor? ... We have to do more than just tweak it.

"My son is dead, so he couldn't say whether or not Zimmerman was following him or if Zimmerman threw the first punch. That's the sad part about it. There's just one person alive. We're going to take this one person's story and we're going to base this whole case on what this gentleman is saying."

A senate committee recently approved proposed changes that would require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to develop training guidelines for neighborhood watch groups that, among other things, address unlawful use of force and conduct that could create or escalate a confrontation.

"It's critical for me and my colleagues to make sure that a tragedy like what happened in Sanford, what's happening in Jacksonville, what's happening around the country does not ever happen again," Williams said. "The repeal of "stand your ground " ... is not about gun control. It's about self-control. It's about making sure our streets are safer."

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