Long article on the pros and cons of both castle doctrine and SYG. It also goes in to the increased gun permits.. Sure are a lot of armed people in Volusia County.
Justifiable homicides nearly triple after Florida 'Stand Your Ground' law passed
DAYTONA BEACH -- Charles Robbins stumbled to his feet as someone pounded on his door.
Outside the Woodland Avenue residence stood 24-year-old Tyler Orshoski, a career criminal who police believe was ready to strike again.
The 82-year-old man grabbed a World War II-era Russian-built Tokerev, walked to the door and fired once.
"I did what I had to do and I would do it again," the Daytona Beach man said.
Minutes later, Orshoski lay dead on Robbins' porch. Robbins was never charged.
The shooting is one of numerous killings in Volusia and Flagler counties from 2005 to 2012 carried out in the name of self-defense and covered under Florida's controversial statute known as "stand your ground, " according to a News-Journal analysis.
State records show justifiable homicides nearly tripled in the five years after stand your ground passed compared to the previous five years. The number of concealed weapons permits almost quadrupled in the same time period.
In Volusia and Flagler, four out of six people who killed their would-be attackers were never charged or convicted.
The 7-year-old law is under intense scrutiny after unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by Sanford neighborhood watch volunteer and concealed weapons permit licensee George Zimmerman. The 28-year-old Zimmerman said the teen attacked him, but Martin's family claims the boy was killed in cold blood.
Zimmerman initially wasn't arrested by Sanford police, only to be charged with second-degree murder by the State Attorney's Office following weeks of nationwide protests.
Since the Feb. 26 killing of Martin, some have lined up against stand your ground, claiming the law discourages restraint and has led to unnecessary deaths. Gun rights advocates and the bill's co-sponsor, though, believe the law deters crime and allows people like Robbins the right to protect themselves from an imminent threat.
"If you empower people to stop violent acts, they can, they will and they did," said state Rep. Dennis Baxley, who co-sponsored the stand your ground statute.
'WE NEEDED TO STAND WITH THEM'
Passed in 2005, the stand your ground statute was meant to clarify how citizens could act in the face of danger. It was driven mostly by fears from hurricane-weary residents, and that fear was reinforced after watching TV coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, said Baxley, an Ocala Republican.
"People were highly sensitized about that and were worried about protecting themselves and their property," he said.
Until stand your ground was passed, citizens and homeowners were governed by the "castle doctrine," rooted in English common law, which allows someone to protect themselves or their property if backed into a corner.
But the castle doctrine left a lot of gray area, Baxley said.
"Generally, people had a duty to retreat," he said. "But that only gave people seconds to decide whether they wanted to be a victim or not.