“It’s very rare that the N.R.A. and the Republican lawmakers who drafted and passed Stand Your Ground tell a sheriff that his version of Stand Your Ground is not applicable in this case,” Benjamin L. Crump, an attorney for Mr. McGlockton’s family, told The New York Times in an interview on Tuesday. “Michael Drejka should have been arrested that day, just like Markeis McGlockton would have been arrested had he pulled the trigger.”
The unusual criticism from the gun lobby and legislators friendly to its cause came in response to several statements by the sheriff in a news conference on July 20, the day after the shooting. Sheriff Gualtieri said, among other things, that his office could be held liable in civil court for arresting a perpetrator who went on to successfully assert a Stand Your Ground defense.
Marion Hammer, the N.R.A.’s longtime Tallahassee lobbyist and a key figure in promoting Florida’s emergence as a laboratory for gun-friendly legislation, said in an email to Politico that the law allows sheriffs to make arrests if they think they can prove a crime has been committed.
“Nothing in either the 2005 law or the 2017 law prohibits a sheriff from making an arrest in a case where a person claims self-defense if there is probable cause that the use of force was unlawful,” Ms. Hammer said, according to Politico. “Nothing in the law says a person can sue the sheriff for making an arrest when there is probable cause.” She did not respond to a request for comment from The Times on Tuesday.
The sheriff had also said that the law created a “largely subjective standard” for how a person who felt threatened could use deadly force in self-defense. The standard is objective, said state Senator Dennis Baxley, who helped write the law when he was in the state House.
“It’s a reasonable person standard, and that means that any — any — reasonable person could look at the fact pattern and concur that he was threatened,” Mr. Baxley said in an interview on Tuesday.
Sheriff Gualtieri, who has a law degree, said Tuesday that while he knows the standard is objective, “There’s a subjective component.” He noted that he must consider not only the surveillance video, shot from an angle to the right and behind Mr. McGlockton, but also the view from Mr. Drejka’s perspective, on the ground in front of Mr. McGlockton, as well as other evidence.