By The Associated Press
Published: October 17, 2012 Updated: October 17, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Gun rights advocates Tuesday told a task force reviewing Florida's "stand your ground" law that the statute needs to be revised to take the burden off defendants trying to prove their use of force was justified.
The burden instead should be placed on prosecutors, and their offices should be required to pay the cost of a "stand your ground" hearing if defendants have charges dropped, said Eric Friday, lead counsel for the gun rights group Florida Carry Inc.
"Prosecutors will be much more cautious on how they take action," Friday told members of the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection during its last hearing involving public comment. Friday said the cost of a defense can be as much as $20,000.
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Supporters of more restrictive gun laws criticized the task force for only having gun rights advocates testify during its final hearing in which members of the public were allowed to testify. Supporters of making Florida's law more restrictive, including Martin's parents, have testified at previous hearings. But many of them were pessimistic the task force will change the law significantly, particularly given that one of the legislation's authors is on the task force.
"It doesn't look very promising," said Ginny Simmons, director of the Second Chance Campaign, a coalition of civil rights groups and elected officials opposed to "stand your ground" laws across the nation. "I've felt like from the beginning it was set up to be biased."
Read the whole thing and fill in the blahs: Strengthen self-defense law, gun rights advocates tell panel | TBO.com