Should the 'Stand Your Ground' law for gun owners be repealed?

The short, easy answer is a resounding NO. However, such is common watercooler conversation in courts and law offices throughout the state. It has become a hot issue in the last few days since a Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge dismissed a case last week where a defendant was facing two counts of first degree murder. The judge ruled the defendant was justified in shooting two people "out of fear for his life during a dispute aboard a 35-foot sailboat, where he was living.

The law was initially enacted by our legislature to allow an individual to utilize lethal force to defend your family against intruders in your home or attack outside your home. I doubt many would argue that an individual has the right to protect their family by any means necessary. However, many are now arguing (specifically prosecutors) that you do not have the right to utilize deadly force when someone is fearful of another based solely on threats or the way a person looks at you. Although, I understand such a perspective, I would disagree wholeheartedly, especially if they are in your home or on your property.

I have practicing law long enough as both a State Prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney to realize that when an intruder breaks into your home, he/she is doing so to commit a crime inside. You do not know whether they are there to steal from you, destroy your property or even hurt/kill you or your family. We do not typically have the opportunity to question the motivations of those intruders before they commit such acts to better understand their exact motivations. As a result, you as a homeowner have the right to presume the worst and take matters into your own hands by any means necessary.

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