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November 11, 2013
The hearing in room 417 started a lot like any other. The chairman took roll call. A stream of Florida elected officials spent a half hour paying almost impossibly earnest homage to the democratic process and the importance of civil debate. Then, a host of student activists, gun rights and gun control advocates took their turns behind the hearing room’s miniature microphone. Almost five hours later, the Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee took its vote, defeating a bill that would have altered the states’ now globally infamous “Stand your ground” law by a wide margin. And it wasn’t even a surprise. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and man whom Slate describes as a conservative ideologue with virtually no filter, declared publicly this summer that he “would not change one damn comma,” of Florida’s “Stand your ground” law. But a collection of civil rights and gun control activists around the country say the fight to quash “Stand your ground” and what they see as the laws’ deadly proceeds is alive and strong.
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