The Umansky Law Firm Discusses Changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

There has been much controversy over guns, gun laws and when a gun can legally be carried or used since the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin trial in June, 2013. Trayvon Martin was shot by Zimmerman one year before the trial on the grounds of Zimmerman’s apartment complex.

The incident sparked immediate reactions from all races and parties associated in the gun community as well as throughout the rest of the state and country, reported by myFOXdc last July 26th in our nation’s capitol. In July, 2013, the jury acquitted Zimmerman of second degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Recently, lawmakers in Tallahassee have been considering making changes to the original Stand Your Ground statute, according to a Orlando Sentinel article on October 7th. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman initially used as his defense in court.

In October, Florida legislation approved a new bill, SB 130, which contained legislation both from Democratic Senator Chris Smith from Ft. Lauderdale and Republican Senator David Simmons of Altamonte Springs. These two Senators worked together to have this bill passed.

Less than six months after the trial, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Bill SB 130 with a 7-2 vote. The revisions to the original Stand Your Ground law require training classes to educate the guidelines for neighborhood watch groups all across the state. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) would take over the development and execution of the state-wide training.

The revisions would also include a mandatory review of all recent firearms laws and the guidelines of how they are to be used within the parameters of the law.

Zahra Umansky, a criminal defense attorney in Orlando and partner of the Umansky Law Firm, has spoken with multiple media sources including Soledad O’Brien and Jane Velez-Mitchell. Attorney Umansky also previously represented George Zimmerman for criminal charges.

Concerning Stand Your Ground law, Attorney Umansky said, “It seems overkill to have the Florida Department of Law Enforcement review every stand your ground case where there is excessive force. We should have faith in our local police, their leaders and detectives when they are making real time judgment calls on Stand your Ground. Outsourcing it to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement just adds another layer of bureaucracy that can be handled internally by having a second set of investigators from the same department who can conduct a separate investigation.”

The SB 130 Bill will also require the FDLE to investigate everyone who uses excessive force towards an attacker. This could prevent additional acts of violence from being performed. Law enforcement will be called to investigate all violent claims even when the situation is called “self-defense.”

Firearm laws in Florida regulate the possession, sale, the use of all guns and ammunition sold throughout the state. Florida laws also recognize out-of-state licenses, as long as Florida licenses are recognized by the reciprocating state. The non-resident must be 21 or over and be a resident of the other state.

Firearm laws are consistent throughout Florida, and a “carry license permit” for carrying a gun is acceptable throughout the state, except in specially-defined locations listed in Florida statute 790.25(3) that are prohibited. All details can be obtained from the National Rifle Association’s and the FDLE’s website.

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