Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' law and when it applies

A Florida mother of four was shot and killed in Marion County by her neighbor on Friday through the front door of the neighbor's home, according to deputies. No arrest has been made in the case as authorities are investigating whether the shooting was justified and protected under Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

That law states that a person has the right to meet force with force if they believe it's necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods explained that law further during a news conference on Monday.

"Any time that we think or perceive or believe that that might come into play, we cannot make an arrest. The law specifically says that, and what we have to rule out is whether the deadly force was justified or not before we can even make the arrest," the sheriff said.

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Along with Florida, Missouri, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania also have stand-your-ground laws on the books and there are now a lot of questions over whether stand-your-ground applies in this case. 

"It's a statutory enactment by our legislature that permits someone who feels they're in danger of death or great bodily harm or… the imminent commission of what's called a forcible felony to defend themselves, and they may utilize deadly force in doing so," said FOX 35 legal expert and defense attorney Bob Fisher.

Essentially, if one feels their life is in danger, one can fight back with deadly force. 

"In addition to that, if you feel someone is about ready to engage in the commission, the imminent commission of what's called a forcible felony – not only a threat to yourself but an imminent commission of a forcible felony - you may likewise use deadly force to prevent that," Fisher explained.

In a case such as this one, where someone shoots through their front door, Fisher said, in some cases, it is permissible.

"If a resident or homeowner inside their home is in fear of the imminent commission of a forcible felony – if someone outside on their property without their permission or consents has, by way of example, threatened to break into their house and harm them –  well that burglary, the unlawful entry without permission or consent with the intent to commit a crime therein is a forcible felony, and you may use deadly force to prevent the imminent commission of that forcible felony."

Florida was first in the nation in 2005 to adopt such a law.