Gun Owners Of America to Scott: Do not repeal Stand Your Ground. We fact-check their petition
Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law is under attack, and a 19-member task force is gearing up to potentially do great bodily harm to the very core of the statute. They could even kill it.
Sensing this grave threat, Gun Owners of America is firing back, shooting off a petition to Gov. Rick Scott telling him not to repeal the law.
Gun Owners of America, a D.C.-based pro-Second Amendment lobbying group not affiliated with the NRA, is circulating a petition to its 300,000 members, targeting Scott.
"The anti-gun voices within the taskforce are certain to call at least for a repeal of the Stand Your Ground law, the Castle Doctrine law, and maybe even the state’s concealed carry law," the lead-in to the GOA petition states. "Even if you don’t live in Florida, please sign the petition below."
Unfortunately, the Washington-based group's petition has several mischaracterizations about Florida, its crime statistics and the history of the Stand Your Ground law.
We'll break down a few of them here, and post the full petition below.
--"WHEREAS anti-gun zealots would take us back the “bad ol’ days” in 2003 -- when a 78 year-old man was taken through the wringer by the legal system because he shot a man breaking into his trailer"
As Ben Montgomery of the Tampa Bay Times pointed out this month, the Pensacola case used to justify the Stand Your Ground law has been distorted several times by the pro-gun lobby. Add this to the list. The man in the case, James Workman (who was 77 years old when the shooting occured in 2004). Workman was not "taken through the wringer by the legal system," as he was never arrested and never charged. Even with no Stand Your Ground law, Workman was ruled justified in shooting the intruder, after an investigation.
--"WHEREAS in the four years for which we have statistics since the Stand Your Ground law was passed in Florida, homicides have dropped by 16.1%;"
A deeper look at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime statistics data shows that firearm-involved murders have increased 28 percent since 2005. Overall crime is down 19 percent over that same period. Clearly, crime numbers are influenced by more factors than just Stand Your Ground (population size, etc.), but either way, GOA's statement misses its target. (As an aside, total homicides in Florida actually rose from 881 in 2005 to 987 in 2010, the most recent available year. That's a 12 percent increase. ).
--"WHEREAS this is faster than the national average;"
Wrong again. U.S. murders have decreased by 9 percent since 2005, according to FDLE data. Florida's murder total increased 12 percent over that same time period.
--"WHEREAS this means that many – perhaps hundreds – of Floridians are alive today because criminals have had to pause before robbing or killing them;"
There is no data to support the claim that "Floridians are alive today because criminals have had to pause before robbing or killing them" due to the Stand Your Ground law. There is, however, data showing that justifiable murders have tripled since Stand Your Ground was passed, and that it has been successfully used by gang members who kill rivals.
Now that that's all clear, here's a copy of the GOA petition. Fire away.
Petition to Florida Governor Rick Scott
WHEREAS anti-gun New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for a repeal of Florida’s pro-gun Stand Your Ground law;
WHEREAS the New York Times – always willing to jump on anti-gun causes – has demanded that the Florida “Stand Your Ground law should be [put] on trial...”
WHEREAS anti-gun zealots would take us back the “bad ol’ days” in 2003 -- when a 78 year-old man was taken through the wringer by the legal system because he shot a man breaking into his trailer – and a 71 year-old-man was almost destroyed by the legal system because he used a gun to defend his 63 year-old friend against thugs who were trying to rob him;
WHEREAS in the four years for which we have statistics since the Stand Your Ground law was passed in Florida, homicides have dropped by 16.1%;
WHEREAS this is faster than the national average;
WHEREAS this means that many – perhaps hundreds – of Floridians are alive today because criminals have had to pause before robbing or killing them;
WHEREAS in most cases, criminals have had to pause not because a victim pulled a gun, but because the killer didn’t know whether or not the victim had a gun;
WHEREAS Florida will be the test case to see whether anti-gunners can use the threats of riots and lynchings to force repeal of America’s pro-gun laws;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we call upon Florida Governor Scott to reject efforts to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.