Florida Sheriffs Unanimously Support 'Stand Your Ground' Law

08/12/2013 11:29 am ET | Updated Aug 14, 2013
AP

Florida may be stuck with "Stand Your Ground" after all.

House Speaker Will Weatherford said he'd be open to legislation changing the state's controversial self-defense law if Florida law enforcement advised that changes are needed.

Friday, Florida's sheriffs unanimously came out in support of the controversial law:

“The right to self-defense is well-established in law. The Florida Sheriffs confirmed this position by voting unanimously, at the 2013 Florida Sheriffs Association Summer Conference, to support the Stand Your Ground law as it is currently written," FSA President and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in an official statement.

"Our current judicial system is comprised of multiple checks and balances to ensure fair and equitable application of all laws, including Stand Your Ground.”

UPDATE: The FSA has since stated that only 57 of 67 sheriffs were present for the vote. Some, like Broward's Scott Israel, have since come out in opposition to the 'unanimous' support.

The FSA has remained largely neutral on the self-defense law, which removes the duty to retreat, since it was enacted in 2005.

But prominent police chiefs and sheriffs have at times been very critical of the legislation.

"Whether it's trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn't want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house," former Miami police chief John F. Timoney told the New York Times in 2005, "you're encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn't be used."

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said "Stand Your Ground" "puts an extra burden on the prosecution. That could make it more difficult in a case where it's really murder," noting several cases in which the defense was successfully used by someone who was the original aggressor.

The sheriffs' recent change of heart is stocking wood on the fire of support for the law.

I think they recognize that Florida is a safer place when our citizens don’t have a duty to retreat and run,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton beach), whose subcommittee will hold a hearing on the law this fall.

Gaetz, whom Weatherford appointed as chair of the "Stand Your Ground" hearings, has also said that he doesn't support changing "one damn comma" of the law.

Click below for some of Florida's more shocking Stand Your Ground cases in which the shooter walked free:

Florida's Shocking Stand Your Ground Acquittals

CONVERSATIONS