Baptist pastors call for change in Stand Your Ground law

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This week, the National Baptist Convention held its meeting in Jacksonville and members used it as a platform to call for change in Florida's Stand Your Ground Law.

"This is the Sunshine state, not the gun shine state, " said R.B. Holmes.

The law gives an individual the right to use deadly force to protect himself, but opponents question if it really protects the innocent or makes an individual judge and jury.

"We believe as pastors no law is perfect but God's law," said Holmes. "This Stand Your Ground law has proven to be used unjustly, unwisely."

The pastors point to the recent verdict in the Michael Dunn case as an example for change. Dunn was charged with shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis to death after an argument over loud music. During the trial, Dunn said it was self-defense.

"The Jordan Davis case should cause a great sense of awareness and righteousness indignation," said Holmes.

Holmes, surrounded by other members of the National Baptist Convention, said the law is wrong. Holmes served on the governor's committee to review the law, after the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmermann case, and said the law is confusing, and controversial.

"I'm asking the governor, the president of the Senate and the House Speaker during this legislative session to repair the Stand Your Ground law or repeal it," he said.

On the upcoming retrial of the Marissa Alexander case, the pastors said that case is another example for change.

"I'm looking forward to meeting with the State Attorney to find out her reasoning as it relates to Marissa Alexander," said Holmes.

He said their hope is that the State Attorney would forego a retrial and reach a legal solution that would allow Alexander to remain home and free.

"I'm an optimistic with pastors of this community we are going to make that appeal to Angela Corey," he said.

But next week, Monday, March 10, the focus is on Tallahassee and the Stand Your Ground law.

"We are serious about repealing, amending Stand Your Ground as we know it," he said.


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