Republicans in Florida appeared to make a major concession to protestors last week when House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) ordered hearings on the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.
But less thrilling to the law’s critics was Weatherford’s pick to chair the meetings: staunch “Stand Your Ground” fan Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach).
“I don’t support changing one damn comma of the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law,” Gaetz told the Tampa Bay Times Friday. “It would be reactionary and dangerous to make Floridians less safe to pacify uninformed protesters.”
Gaetz also said he thinks the hearings are a “good idea” because he wants “an opportunity to give a full-throated defense of the law.”
“So much for an objective review of the law’s unintended consequences,” wrote the Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board, who called the hearings a “farce” while House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale) took Gaetz to task.
“That type of attitude is why we have the people of the state protesting,” Thurston told the Tampa Tribune. “It will only continue to fuel those who are calling for actions that Florida doesn’t really need, like boycotts and everybody arming themselves. Those voices will only get louder. The people of Florida deserve adult conversation about the issue.”