Florida Gov. Rick Scott released the names of the individuals he picked to be members of a task force to reevaluate the state's gun laws in the wake of the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The members of the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection include Republican state legislator Dennis Baxley, who authored the 2005 stand your ground bill which then became state law. Other members include Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle; former state Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Bell; and Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley.
The group is charged with reviewing Florida's stand your ground law, which has been under national scrutiny following Martin's death in February. Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in a Sanford gated community, after Zimmerman believed the youth was exhibiting suspicious behavior.
The task force is chaired by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and the vice-chair is the Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr., a prominent African-American minister in Tallahassee.
We are a nation of laws, and I am committed to letting our legal system work to ensure the people of in our state are safe and protected, Scott said in a statement, according to local media sources. I have the utmost confidence that Lt. Governor Carroll and Reverend Holmes are the best people to lead the review of Florida's citizen safety laws.
The shooting put a spotlight not only on racial profiling -- some civil rights groups allege Zimmerman, the son of a white father and a Hispanic mother, may have specifically targeted the African-American Martin because of his race -- but on stand your ground self-defense laws across the country.
Zimmerman maintains he was acting in self-defense when he shot Martin, a move that is legally protected by stand your ground. The self-defense law allows people to defend themselves with lethal force, without the duty to retreat, as long as they reasonably believe it is necessary to protect themselves from bodily harm.
Zimmerman was charged last week with second-degree murder in Martin's death, and is currently incarcerated in a Sanford prison.
Other members of the task force include:
- Sheriff Larry Ashley, of the Shalimar, Okaloosa County, Sheriff's Office.
- State Representative Dennis Baxley, of Ocala, Florida House of Representatives, District 24.
- Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Kenneth B. Bell, of Pensacola, shareholder with Clark Partington Hart Larry Bond and Stackhouse.
- State Representative Jason Brodeur, of Sanford, Florida House of Representatives, District 33.
- Derek E. Bruce, of Orlando, attorney with Edge Public Affairs.
- Joseph A. Caimano Jr., of Tampa, criminal defense attorney with Caimano Law Group.
- Edna Canino, of Miami, president of the Florida Embassy of League of United Latin American Citizens, Council 7220.
- Gretchen Lorenzo, of Fort Myers, neighborhood watch coordinator for the Fort Myers Police Department.
- Judge Krista Marx, of West Palm Beach, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida.
- Maria Newman, of Melbourne, neighborhood watch volunteer with the City of Melbourne.
- Katherine Fernandez Rundle, of Miami, state attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
- Stacy A. Scott, of Gainesville, assistant public defender with the Eighth Judicial Circuit.
- Mark Seiden, of Miami, self-employed attorney.
- State Senator David Simmons, of Altamonte Springs, Florida Senate, District 22.
- State Senator Gary Siplin, of Orlando, Florida Senate, District 19.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...