Recent shooting spurs self-defense debate

By Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 21 2014 11:55:35 PM EST

VIDEO: Jacksonville Sheriff's officers arrested Karla Davis with killing a Southside father of two.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Another killing in Jacksonville has brought Florida's self-defense laws into view.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of Karla Gene Davis Friday for killing a Jacksonville father of two, Ian Klinedinst, Sunday.

Police told Channel 4 that the shooting happened in a fit of rage. While Davis confessed to killing Klinedinst Sunday night, she claims the shooting was self-defense.

"I think that people of Florida and the Legislature have spoken clearly and said there should not be a duty to retreat when you are in fear for your life," said Florida Carry Counsel Eric Friday.

"A lot of people jump to conclusions and shoot first, ask later," said TC Roberts, a Jacksonville attorney who works with lawyer John Phillips.

Phillips' firm represented Jordan Davis' family. Roberts told Channel 4 he's not a fan of Florida's self-defense law.

The self-defense debate has been on going in Florida since high profile cases like Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman hit Florida. Friday represents the other side of the discussion.

"I mean, the fact is we've had a reduction in murder and a reduction in shootings since the stand-your-ground law was passed. So to say that it's leading more people to use a gun to solve their problems doesn't fit with the statistics that shootings are down," said Friday.

"I do believe that the gun laws are more importantly the justifiable use of deadly force defense gives the actor an excuse for their own reasonable and intentional actions," said Roberts.

The discussion of stand-your-ground and self-defense in Florida was renewed this week as State Attorney Angela Corey told CNN law enforcement wants the old standards renewed.

"I believe prosecutors and (the) sheriff's association are in favor of the former laws we had on justifiable use of deadly force. We do believe that before someone should engage in a physical altercation where deadly force is in use. We do believe there's a duty to retreat," said Corey.

"It looks like this lady was angry about a burglary and unfortunately in Florida you can't defend your property with deadly force. This is not Texas, this is Florida. You can use some force to defend your property but you can't take a gun and shoot someone," said Roberts.

"The idea of a duty to retreat has never been the idea of the law of Florida as passed by the Legislature. Only the creation of judges and prosecutors," said Friday.

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