It is to be expected that those who do not believe in self-defense are upset that Florida is trying to increase the protection of those who defend themselves. It is only natural that those who oppose something would wish to oppose its increase. But we have to ask if this attack is justified.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground law provides protection for people who feel that their life is threatened. It allows a citizen to stand their ground and defend themselves.
As the current law is written, the person who claims this right must prove in a pretrial hearing that they were in mortal danger. The way it will be if this bill passes into law, the burden of proof will fall to the prosecutor. And this the first thing that the NYT points out as a problem.
The NYT reports
This dangerous bill would make worse an already notorious law that allows an individual to use deadly force, without first attempting to retreat from a dangerous situation.
Under the proposed change, prosecutors would essentially have to try a case twice, at a hearing and then at the trial, while making it easier for defendants to claim a right to shoot first (or stab or club or otherwise attack someone) and argue against prosecution on the basis of their fears.
Now it is clear that this is a misrepresentation of the facts. First, this pretrial hearing will happen either way. The work of the prosecutor is not increased, he already is trying it twice. What it actually does is bring the law into conformity with American Jurisprudence.
American thinking has always been that the burden of proof lies with the accuser. Whether in a civil or criminal case, the accused gives a “defense” of their actions. This means that if a man defends himself at a park, and is subsequently tried for murder, he is the accused.
This change in the law now removes the burden from the defense because the burden always belongs to the prosecutor.
What the NYT wants to do is eliminate the right of the citizen to defend themselves. Even if the elimination of this right takes the elimination of justice.