Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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ALEC defends Stand Your Ground law
Posted Mar 26, 2012 by William March
Updated Mar 26, 2012 at 05:01 PM
The American Legislative Exchange Council, which has pushed the “Stand Your Ground” law in other states since the Florida Legislature passed it in 2005, is defending the law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.
ALEC is an industry-funded advocacy group that recommends business-friendly legislation to state lawmakers nationwide, and curries their favor with deluxe retreats to discuss proposed legislation. It’s highly influential in the Florida Legislature.
According to the web site of the National Rifle Association, state NRA head Marion Hammer made a presentation on the new law to ALEC in August, 2005. ALEC soon afterward adopted it as part its legislative agenda.
Today, ALEC issued a statement saying, “It is unclear whether that law could apply to this case at all.” ALEC makes the argument, also made by Florida backers of the law since the Martin shooting, that it wouldn’t apply in the Martin case because the shooter, George Zimmerman, pursued Martin.
ALEC contends critics of the legislation are now using the Martin shooting “to score political points.”
Another former backer of the law who has made the same argument ALEC is making in support of the law: state Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith.