Amendment to Bill Expanding ”Stand Your Ground” Law to Allow Record Expungement
On March 19, changes to a Florida House of Representatives bill, which would expand the reach of the state’s “stand your ground” law were adopted. These changes effectively restrict access to court records in cases related to self-defense.
Under the amended version of the bill, defendants who have used warranted force in a “stand your ground” hearing could request to have their court records expunged and kept from the general public, provided those records were related to the case. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Walton Beach filed the amendment, saying it is designed to provide greater privacy to individuals who have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing.
Those who oppose the amendment claim that court records are important when it comes to understanding the repercussions of the “stand your ground” law, which was passed in 2005. Gaetz, who is also the chair of Florida’s House Criminal Justice committee, responded that many existing surveys of these cases have been based on media reports, a practice that could continue even if court records were made private.
Gaetz has been called one of the most dedicated supporters of Second Amendment rights in the Florida legislature by gun rights advocacy organizations. This is the latest of many efforts from the representative to allow for greater freedoms for gun owners across the state.
Florida’s “stand your ground” law permits the use of deadly force to defend oneself against an attack. If you feel that your constitutional right to carry or use a weapon has been violated, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you conduct a thorough investigation and collect evidence to support your case.