During a Tuesday meeting of Florida’s Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, state senator David Simmons told the task force and a public audience that the American Legislative Exchange Council had “absolutely nothing” to do with the drafting of the now controversial Florida “stand your ground” self-defense law.
“I want to state to all of you first, that ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, had nothing to do with the drafting of this bill. Absolutely nothing,” Simmons said.
“As a matter of fact, that puts the cart before the horse because ALEC didn’t even become involved in this until Florida passed the law. So there was no ALEC in the drafting of this.”
“Second,” Simmons added, “it wasn’t drafted by the NRA either.”
State Rep. Dennis Baxley echoed Simmons’ statement. “We took the bill to ALEC,” Baxley said. “They didn’t bring us the bill.”
Both lawmakers said the bill had significant input and broad support. Simmons noted that it passed 39-0 in the senate, and had the support of the “majority Republicans and many, many Democrats.”
Baxley added that when the “stand your ground” bill came up for debate, it was “uncontroversial in the legislature.”
“It was controversial in the media and it was controversial in the anti-gun community,” said Baxley. “That’s where it was controversial.”
Liberal advocates at the Center for Media and Democracy, the Van Jones-founded Color of Change and other groups have ramped up the pressure on ALEC since the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teenager, by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman.
Those groups blame ALEC for the Florida law that Zimmerman will use as his primary defense for shooting Martin to death. Liberal organizations’ pressure has resulted in Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson and other corporate sponsors discontinuing their funding support for ALEC. The organization has also canceled its task force on public safety and elections.
A spokesperson for ALEC declined to comment because the group did not want any comment it made to be misconstrued by the media and opposition groups.
UPDATE: The Center for Media and Democracy never blamed ALEC for drafting the Florida law, only promoting it after it was passed. However, they did blame the NRA for drafting the law.
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