Democrats force poll of all lawmakers on ‘stand your ground’

Republicans have more than enough votes to block an election-year special session.
Florida's Capitol. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
Florida's Capitol. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Aug. 3, 2018|Updated Aug. 3, 2018

Democrats in the Florida Legislature on Friday reached the 20 percent goal to force a poll of members on the question of an unusual election-year special session to change the "stand your ground" self-defense law.

The action follows the case of the fatal shooting of a Clearwater man in a dispute over a parking space. Law enforcement officials declined to press charges against the assailant, saying his actions were justified under the law, which the Legislature revised and Gov. Rick Scott approved in 2017.

Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, initiated the call for a special session. Secretary of State Ken Detzner is now required to survey all members of the Legislature, but a special session is highly unlikely.

Republicans will vote in opposition. Democrats want to force Republicans to record their support for the law in the hope that it will sway voters in the fall elections. Supporting a special session requires antagonizing the National Rifle Association.

Here are the 32 Democrats who signed certificates calling for a special session. Nineteen are House members and 13 are senators.