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Sanford, FL to ban Neighborhood Watch from carrying guns

Sanford, FL to ban Neighborhood Watch from carrying guns

Reuters reports that Sanford, Florida — the town where George Zimmerman successfully and lawfully defended his life by shooting and killing a vicious attacker, Trayvon Martin — has passed new rules for how neighborhood watch volunteers may conduct themselves. In particular, it forbids them from being armed with a firearm, as well as from pursuing a suspicious person.

Florida city bans guns for neighborhood watch volunteers:

The Florida city where neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin is changing the rules on how civilian patrols can operate to help prevent a recurrence and revive the program’s reputation.

The new rules, to be released at a community meeting on November 5 in Sanford, Florida, will state explicitly that residents acting under the authority of neighborhood watch may not carry a firearm or pursue someone they deem suspicious.

The Reuters piece, published in the Chicago Tribune, notes that the “prosecution accused [Zimmerman] of racially profiling Martin, a high school student visiting from Miami, and then pursuing, confronting and shooting him.”

Nowhere in the article — seriously, nowhere — do they mention the vicious, life-threatening beating that Martin launched against Zimmerman without any just cause (even Martin’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with him at the moment of the attack, testified that it was Martin who initiated the physical conflict).

Local News 13 further reports:

Sanford’s new police chief, Cecil Smith, said the neighborhood watch program as it was operated while Zimmerman was part of it was dysfunctional and had no accountability.

“In this program, it is clearly stated that you will not pursue an individual,” Smith explained. “In this new program, it clearly indicates that you will not carry a firearm when performing your duties as a neighborhood watch captain or participant.”

I expect Sanford FL will encounter one, or both, of the following two realities in short order:

  • A substantial decline in the number of neighborhood watch volunteers, with a corresponding increase in serious crime.
  • A murdered neighborhood watch volunteer.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


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Can they even do that legally ? State pre-emption, Constitution, etc ?

    They’re not preempting state law by simply making it a condition of participating in Neighborhood Watch, anymore than an employer is preempting state law by not allowing you to carry in their work place.

    So, sure, they can do this.

    I don’t suppose the Police Chief is going to stop carrying? I mean, he has a substantially lower probability of being attacked by a vicious criminal than does a Neighborhood Watch volunteer on the ground.

    Bad choices, bad outcomes.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      When the passed CCW in IL last June, there was supposed to be no preemption. Just a month or 2 later, the pols in Chicago amended liquor control board licensing for businesses serving alcohol, that they had to post a no firearms sign. That skirts the no preemption provision, because it’s not viewed a firearm law, but a liquor / business law. Douchebags.

        healthguyfsu in reply to MrE. | October 30, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        I don’t know signs are an effective deterrent robbers from bringing guns into the liquor store. Seems like foolproof logic to me!

        Be well, John Spartan.

      So – What will be the charge and penalty for legally carrying while performing Neighborhood Watch duties? Since there is no pay involved, there is no employer-employee relationship and Homeowner Associations are the beggars here.

      Sally MJ in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      I seriously doubt people with guns will be Neighborhood Watch volunteers. They will continue to carry their weapons to defend their own lives, maybe not others so much. Sort of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?

      Another Ed in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 31, 2013 at 1:58 am

      Residents of any community are free to assemble and organize for any peaceable purpose, armed or unarmed. The only need for following the rules of the City of Sanford is for the organized group to call themselves “Neighborhood Watch”. If the cared to call themselves “The Community Busybodies” and hold organized walks of their community while armed (concealed as required in Florida), then that is not prohibited. If the Sanford Police Department declares “We do not need you to do that”, then ignore them as what they do not need you to do is irrelevant.

      sequester in reply to Andrew Branca. | November 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      It comes down to a liability issue. neighborhood watch groups are often under the supervision of the local police department. Now imagine if you lawfully use your licensed weapon but to a standard below that of the police department.

    MrE in reply to pjm. | October 30, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    No preemption of state level laws by local laws … ever wonder why the same logic isn’t applied at the Fed > State level? How many state laws preempt the 2nd amendment? I.e., what part of “shall not be infringed” do states fail to understand?

    In IL, I had to wait 60 days for a FOID card just to purchase a gun, and once in hand, had to wait an additional 3 days to take delivery of the gun I purchased.

    Didn’t that ‘infringe’ on my 2A rights for 63 days?

    Ah well – Sanford idiots guaranteeing a more politically correct but less safe community.

    Were I in NW there, I’d tender my resignation immediately.

      Archer in reply to MrE. | October 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      If it happened in Free America, yes, they infringed on your 2A rights – which shall not be infringed – for 63 days. Moreover, according to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., they denied your 2A rights (“A right delayed is a right denied.”)

      But it didn’t happen in Free America; it happened in Illinois.

      Therefore, you had no 2A rights to infringe. In Illinois, unlike in Free America, you are a violent criminal – one who they grudgingly admit hasn’t been caught yet – and they need to make sure you won’t abuse your government-approved privilege. That takes 60 days. Then, because they expect you to abuse the privilege anyway (uncaught violent criminal, remember?), they make you wait 3 more days.

      Be glad, Peon! Your sacrifice has made your community safer. [/sarcasm]

they (the community as a whole) deserve whatever happens to them then.
I hope they had the honesty to also make sure gated communities with patrols have the same restrictions.
Would be interesting to see what happens the first time one of their families gets hurt because of this stupidity.

and they are still glomming onto that pursuing fallacy?
stupidity this bad deserves pain.

    Archer in reply to dmacleo. | October 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Is it the town in general or the city council in particular that passed these new rules?

    If it’s the former, then I agree with you – they deserve what they ask for – but if it’s the latter, then I’d argue that the community as a whole does not deserve the consequences, especially if there were substantial arguments against the new rules presented (IOW, if the city residents said “No,” but the city council said “Yes” anyway).

    Unfortunately, I don’t see any outcome significantly different from Andrew’s predictions: a marked decrease in Neighborhood Watch volunteers and a corresponding increase in crime, and/or NW volunteers being seriously hurt or killed while on duty. We can only hope that whoever is responsible for the new rules/restrictions – the city council or the residents – is made to own their actions in bringing this about.

EFFin Punks may now attack and kill Sanford’s explicitly disarmed Neighborhood Watch personnel in safety.

Nothing like putting a target on their backs.

the long and short of it is that it will insure neighborhood watch can never go anywhere armed on or off the clock so to speak because I promise you some D.A will start a case against one of them arrested with a statement something like this … yes ladies and gentlemen Mr.Smith was not on patrol that night but as soon as he picked up that phone and dialed 911 and I.D himself as part of the neighborhood watch he placed himself on duty

    stevewhitemd in reply to Aggie95. | October 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Interesting thought. It means (I think) that as a neighborhood nosey-parker I have more rights than does the local neighborhood watch rep. If I see something happening and intervene I’m just Joe Q. Citizen helping out, whereas if the NW rep does so “off the clock” as you say, he/she could be in trouble with the DA.

    Someone isn’t thinking this through.

      healthguyfsu in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      I foresee a drop in neighborhood watch participation. Maybe, not in terms of signficant statistical numbers but in terms of those who will actually observe and if necessary render aid for or defend their neighbors.

Well, I for one won’t be volunteering to be on that doomed Neighborhood Watch roster. Nor, I would expect, will anyone else!

I presume that people will start watching without calling themselves ‘neighborhood watch’.

I recall that there was some sort of adjunct program that Zimmerman decided not to go into. It would have provided him with a city-given car and some kind of official status. It had something to do with his location being outside of normal city limits, some kind of unincorporated area, and getting police services from inside the incorporated area, and so they set up this adjunct force-neighborhood-watch group.

Does anyone else recall that?

    Yes, the head of the police department’s Neighborhood Watch program recommended Zimmerman for that “promotion”. He declined.

    Didn’t think of it at that time, but that more formal position likely carried with it a prohibition against being armed. If so, I imagine that might have been the driver behind Zimmermn’s demurral.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

I put a comment into the story at the Tribune. Let’s see how it does. I reproduce it here.


Nowhere in this article does the reporter, Barbara Liston, mention the fact that the young Mr. Martin viciously beat Mr. Zimmerman, and that beating is what put the latter in fear of his life. Since that was the end result of the trial — the jury decided that Mr. Zimmerman’s fears were justified and thus acquitted him of all charges — you’d think that fact would make it into the story.

Further, the jury did NOT decide the trial based on ‘Stand Your Ground’ — both the prosecution and the defense agreed that this was not a SYG case, and the judge did not allow such a defense to be entertained. The legal issue in the case was whether Mr. Zimmerman was justified in his belief that he was in great danger of bodily harm, including death. That is a different legal issue than SYG.

Whatever the decision of the Sanford police with regard to Neighborhood Watch, it will not necessarily prevent a “recurrence” of the event of Mr. Martin’s death. Mr. Martin died not because he was shot by an untrained, vengeful watch person, but because he confronted and assaulted said watch person.

It helps to keep the facts straight.

    Nicely done.

    I score about 20% of the time submitting such comments.

    The truth, it burns. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      stevewhitemd in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Well the Trib has a comments section for each article. I’ve posted on other articles before. You’ll see anywhere from 0 to 10,000 comments based on the controversy. I live in the Chicago area so I’m a subscriber (sigh, the wife insists) and thus can log in.

      We’ll see if the comment survives. Perhaps I’ll report back.

        stevewhitemd in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        A couple comments, including one from Bob Owens (always a good guy to have in your corner). We might want to flood the zone at the Trib: always respectful, of course 🙂

    Midwest Rhino in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 31, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Mr. Martin died not because he was shot by an untrained, vengeful watch person, but because he confronted and assaulted said watch person.

    Trayvon attacked GZ the cracker, not GZ the watch person. He profiled him when he walked around his car, perhaps ascertaining he was NOT a cracker in any official watch/police capacity. If GZ had been wearing an orange “neighborhood watch” vest, I imagine Trayvon stays away.

    I suppose the line of thinking is that these watch guys get a big ego, and get a degree of “cop rage”. That’s feasible, though I don’t think they have such evidence, especially in GZ’s case. For the leftists, it is more about gun control, or maybe neighborhood watch control.

    But disarming the neighborhood watch means the guys that identify as such, become “gun free zone people”, in a non gun free zone. It makes the official neighborhood watch person give up his right to better defense, even as he puts himself at more risk, and perhaps even making them big orange vested targets.

    But again, GZ acted as a (non-official) watch person, and not being orange vested or badged made him a more “suspicious cracker” to thug Trayvon. Visible identification is probably by far the strongest functional point of neighborhood watches. So disarming them will only make for more unofficial watchers like GZ, and make more bad outcomes like that one.

    And it will make life more dangerous for official watchers, with no evidence there are ego driven watchers out there running roughshod over the general public, that need to be controlled. (though they wrongly try to put GZ in that capacity)

Some people dumbfound me.


Someone in Sanford can be expected to start a “Home Guard” movement.

When you write a stupid law, people WILL wire around it.

    onlyabill in reply to Ragspierre. | October 30, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    As you say, now there will be “unofficial” neighborhood watch groups so as to get around this dumb restriction.

    Also wonder how many watch placards will come down as it broadcasts that the watchers are unarmed AND can’t follow.

    The other likely outcome is, the first time an official watch member gets attached and/or killed and the family sues the city for failure to protect, it will quietly be changed.

      onlyabill in reply to onlyabill. | October 30, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      “attacked” not “attached”.

      No edit feature. 🙁

      ConradCA in reply to onlyabill. | October 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      The court already ruled that the state has no legal obligation to protect the citizens. So if you sue your case will be dismissed. Though the fact that your in the NWP might change that.

        Phillep Harding in reply to ConradCA. | October 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        Not a “city” but a gated community.

        IANAL, but that might make a diff.

        Depending on how the case is presented.

          Being a lawyer does not mean always understands the law (No offense to the good ones here). Law is actually fairly easy to understand and use if one understands language and grammar, plus a few procedural rules. Appellate court precedent is another story entirely.

          Ah, Platypus, but is in the courts where the law is actually applied, where “the rubber meets the road.”

          The statutes are merely the stated desires of the Legislature. It is in the trial courts where the actual application of the law is applied, and realized. And it is in the appellate courts where the binding legal standards are set for the trial courts.

          Merely “understanding” the law based on “grammar” and “procedural rules”, in the absence of appellate precedent, is to not understand the law at all. Indeed, sometimes the application by the courts seems, to an objective observer, to achieve precisely the opposite outcome from that apparently desired by the Legislature. Dangerous waters. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

They might as well put out a sign: Our Neighborhood Watch is defenseless. Enjoy.

[…] plans to announce that anyone who has a concealed carry permit and chooses to carry a firearm may not participate in the Neighborhood Watch programs. They can carry their guns all they want, but they can’t be acting under any […]

Charles Curran | October 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm

What’s to stop a homeowner or two or three who have CCP from ‘Unofficially’ patrolling their neighborhood armed?

Rick the Curmudgeon | October 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Weren’t the Neighborhood Watch members already prohibited from CCW while on watch? (Double Secret Prohibition!)
And wasn’t Zimmerman armed precisely because he “wasn’t on the clock?”
The “racially profiling Martin, a high school student visiting from Miami, and then pursuing, confronting and shooting him” has already been thoroughly dissected on this website, so I’ll say no more about that.

MouseTheLuckyDog | October 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm

So, what happens if a neighborhood watch person pursues someone or carries a gun?

    The risk isn’t that there might be some explicit criminal sanction, but that an aggressive prosecutor (e.g., Corey, de la Rionda, Guy, Mantei, etc.) could more effectively argue to the jury that the neighborhood watch volunteer’s actions were “unreasonable” because he had been explicitly instructed not to engage in such activity.

    A person’s conduct must be reasonable to fall within the bounds of the law of self-defense.

    I’d say it’s pretty clear the real intent is to simply do away with Neighborhood Watch programs.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      healthguyfsu in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Or to change the name of the Neighborhood Watch into the Neighborhood Stare & Do Nothing….because that’s all the people that will be left.

      All volunteers will be equipped with a handy Obamaphone, not to call the police, but to record and instagram every event without ever intervening.

      That way, they can hunt down instances of imagined racism, chauvinism, or “conservative extremism” and post their baited outrage.

      Another Ed in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 31, 2013 at 1:38 am

      Ultimately, it is not the prosecutor or even the judge who decides what is “reasonable”, but the jury. In this particular case, the jury determined that George Zimmerman acted in a reasonable manner.

Why have a neighborhood watch, then?

So, they treat us like peasants or more correctly serfs.

mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable

Perhaps if they can guarantee that criminals will not be armed (e.g. guns, scalpels, etc.), and that people (e.g. Trayvon Martin) will not exhibit homicidal rage, then there may be room to negotiate.

I suppose the resolution of this indignity will be easily selected when it becomes undeniable and unavoidable. In the meantime, the authorities should be reminded that the Second Amendment is not a right given but recognized.

    ConradCA in reply to n.n. | October 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    That’s part of it. Black criminals like Trayvon are the core of the Dem party. They can’t go “shopping” if their victims are armed. So the Dems help them out by ensuring lots of unarmed victims for them to hunt.

One more time, in the name of political correctness, the authorities cave in to the demands of thugs, criminals and agitators. It’s sad, so sad…

“…was dysfunctional and had no accountability.”

Strange statement.

Violent criminal shot – functionality, check.

Criminal trial – accountability, check.

Where’s the problem?

The locality cannot prevent anyone lawfully authorized to carry a concealed weapon from carrying one – that would fall under pre-emption.

What they have defacto done is prevent anyone from operating under a currently sanctioned community watch organization from doing so while armed.

They have no such authority over any non-sanctioned efforts to guard one’s own property. So those who wish to will simply re-brand themselves an independent volunteer security agency.

Which will have the net result of cutting off such groups from contact with law enforcement – a really, really stupid outcome for all involved parties.

    janitor in reply to ThomasD. | October 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Exactly. No one who is watching his or her own neighborhood or property needs to operate under the auspices of an official “Neighborhood Watch” group of individuals who, in any event, are not licensed, and not granted any kind of additional authority.

    Phillep Harding in reply to ThomasD. | October 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    The preemption clause of the Florida law regarding firearms? I think that’s going to be a “court interpretation” problem.

    The common area of the gated community is supposed to be private property of the gated community. I think those owning/controlling private property can ban firearms, but that does not mean a judge cannot decide it is covered by the preemption clause.

Henry Hawkins | October 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm

So, let me see if I understand the gun grabber logic here. You’ve got two distinct sets of armed people involved here: those who would rob and steal from people and homes, and those people who are or would be victimized by the other set. One set uses weapons to rob or kill victims and may be thought of as not respecting of the law. The other set defends their homes, property, and lives.

So… gun grabbers… your logic says the best thing to do here is to disarm the victims? Might this have anything to do with the fact it isn’t your homes, your property, or your lives at risk?

I just put Sanford FL on my list of towns to ‘visit’ if I ever need some fast easy cash.

So what happens if you carry anyway? IMHO you would be an idiot to join the neighborhood watch and not carry. I would carry concealed and not tell anyone. It’s better to be judged by 12 then killed by a Trayvon thug.

    One of the five elements of the law of self-defense is reasonableness. If there’s an established rule that if you choose to participate in Neighborhood Watch you cannot be armed, and knowing that rule you volunteer for Neighborhood Watch and nevertheless arm yourself, and then use that gun to kill someone, the Prosecutor will argue with considerable efficacy that your conduct in being armed was by definition not reasonable–you agreed to the “no gun” rule, suggesting you yourself believed it was a reasonable rule, and you broke it.

    I wouldn’t want to be in that spot.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      ConradCA in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks. That clears it up. Is Cory going to be disbarred?

      platypus in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 31, 2013 at 3:43 am

      No offense but what part of self-defense is derived from the rule? Whether it is reasonable to be armed or not seems to have nothing to do with whether imminent threat of bodily harm was happening. So there could be no nexus to any rule violation because the rule violation did not cause the need for self-defense. And the conduct in the Z-man trial by the prosecutor was some of the most repulsive sleaze I’ve ever seen. There is an ethics rule that requires an attorney to withdraw if he/she is morally disgusted by the client’s cause. I guess the prosecutor really doesn’t have a client so it’s okay to argue crap that has nothing to do with the facts. Z-man was lucky he had a jury that followed the instructions.

        divemedic in reply to platypus. | October 31, 2013 at 7:52 am

        It’s in 776.012: A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person *** reasonably *** believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself

        See also:

        FL 776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm. (

        FL Jury Instruction 3.6(f) JUSTIFIABLE USE OF DEADLY FORCE (

        FL Jury Instruction 3.6(g) JUSTIFIABLE USE OF NON-DEADLY FORCE (

        And just about every FL self-defense court decision you might care to look at.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        amatuerwrangler in reply to platypus. | October 31, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        The point is that when you sign up you are agreeing to participate in a manner set forth in the rules. One rule is “no guns” while participating.

        Not knowing exactly how this NW is set up I won’t try to say what individual activity is “participation” and what is not; the non-NW person is free to call 911 when they see something, just like the NW member is instructed to do. Maybe there is more to it.

        But the point is that if you decide to break the rule of the NW by arming yourself while participating, when things go south you are opening the door for a prosecutor to argue “this person is prone to break rules, to make up their own. How do we know that they are not making up the idea that they needed defending, or that they were actually in peril?” One on trial is best off not to even have to address these questions. And I think that is what Andrew is driving at.

But that rule wouldn’t apply if a person were simply on his way to the store, would it? If a neighborhood watch were formed, and there were no set “watches” or patrols, then the rule against carrying would not apply, I would think.
Or are they saying that if you are a part of a neighborhood watch, you can never carry concealed again?

    I don’t think that’s what they are saying.

    On the other hand, watching the prosecution team in the Zimmerman trial try to lie, cheat, and steal their way to imprisoning an innocent man in jail for the rest of his life, why would you put yourself under their discretion in even the slightest way?

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      divemedic in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 30, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      True. After watching that attempted witch trial, I realized that even if you win the trial, your life is ruined because you and your family will be destitute after the legal bills, and the fact that you are now a social pariah.
      Lose the trial, and there are only two possible outcomes: 1) you are put to death, and your life insurance won’t pay, leaving your family destitute; or 2) you are given life in prison, leaving your family destitute.
      To borrow a phrase from an 80’s movie, the only winning move is not to play. That means that even if I hear screams and see a man wearing a hockey mask and wielding a bloody machete enter my neighbor’s house, I am not intervening.
      It just isn’t worth the risk.

        Rick the Curmudgeon in reply to divemedic. | October 31, 2013 at 12:46 am

        divemedic, there’s a third path to ruination. Win the criminal trial as Zimmerman did, but be sued civilly by Trayvon’s parents. So you’ve now got two sets of legal expenses, to go with maybe losing the civil suit.

        Of course, in Florida, Trayvon’s parents are barred from a civil suit because Zimmerman was acquitted criminally. And THIS is what all the hue and cry is about. Not Stand Your Ground, (which was only mentioned when telling the jury it didn’t apply), but the inability to automatically have a second chance to ruin the defendant’s life for the same offense.

        And my blood pressure won’t let me even begin to talk about the fuckery that Eric Holder can gin up federally.

          I think Eric the Racist is tied down on Z-man. The jury’s verdict resolved all facts, which estops any further trying of those facts in a different venue. Essentially, there could be no wrongful death because the jury said it was a righteous kill, albeit in softer terms. That finding of fact is forever the last word, which is why AG WeaselFace hasn’t done anything. He couldn’t get past a motion for summary dismissal.

          “AG Weaselface” (I am totally stealing that!) might not be able to get past a motion for summary dismissal, but that doesn’t stop him from pressing charges.

          Charges that, while spurious and inappropriate, would cost GZ good money to fight.

          Remember that their goal isn’t justice. The jury delivered justice, and they’re still not happy and/or satisfied. Their goal is to ruin GZ – financially if not criminally – and the has essentially unlimited resources to do so. It’s as nothing to them, but GZ would have to hire another lawyer and pay that person to appear in court and file the motion on his behalf – and who knows what the federal rules on who pays/reimburses court costs are?

          In short, “AG Weaselface” (that gets better with use!) may not have filed charges, but it’s way too early to dismiss that possibility.

    VetHusbandFather in reply to divemedic. | October 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I was thinking the same thing. GZ wasn’t ‘actively participating’ int he neighborhood watch at the time. He was going to the store. So I would think that this doubly wouldn’t apply to those circumstances, and if it does, then all the more reason for people to just never join their NW program.

    right-s-right in reply to divemedic. | October 31, 2013 at 6:28 am

    VERY good! Who SAYS you have to join the disarmed Neighborhood Watch in order to watch over your neighborhood?

That’s pretty retarded, Sanford.

In order to see the logic in their actions, you must consider what is the city’s objective in passing this ordinance.

Their objective is *not* to decrease crime, protect Neighborhood Watch volunteers, or prevent another thug-on-civilian defensive shooting.

Their objective is to apply Lawyer Repellent to the town.

During the *next* civil lawsuit, and maybe this one too, they want to be able to take the stand and say “No, your honor. We should not be sued by the defendant’s survivors because we *tried* to keep guns out of the hands of the NW volunteers. See, right here it says they’re not supposed to be packing heat while on patrol…”

Of course the Law of Unintended Consequences means there will be more unarmed dead civilians due to their actions, but that’s acceptable to the city. They won’t sue.

They ought to just build a fence around the town, with barbed wire on top, so the honest citizens can move elsewhere and the Trayvon Martin fanclub can run the place.

right-s-right | October 31, 2013 at 6:25 am

The fools that thought this prohibition up obviously think that the George Zimmermans of this world who get pounded severely by a thug of a different color should just let themselves be KILLED and save Sanford a “racism” lawsuit. If more violent criminals got shot while hammering someone
‘s head on the pavement,sociopath behavior, there’d be a drop in the population of dangerous criminals,which would both save taxpayers a bundle (for both defense lawyers and prison terms) and make the townspeople safer. I can’t think of any words bad enough to call this idea. Wait till they start getting “wrongful death” lawsuits from the bereaved families of murdered neighborhood watchers,if anyone can be recruited for neighborhood watch in ANY violent neighborhood.

    divemedic in reply to right-s-right. | October 31, 2013 at 7:57 am

    That is the beautiful part of weapons free zones. If there is no policy against weapons, anyone who is shot can sue. If there is a policy that prohibits weapons, there is immunity because it is nearly impossible to hold a person liable for the criminal acts of a third party.

Are there any black neighborhood watch volunteers in Sanford? No? Then why doesn’t the new black police commissioner just come right out and say what he really wants: “White people are hereby forbidden from carrying guns in Sanford”? This is discrimination, straight up!

right-s-right | October 31, 2013 at 6:33 am

I saw parts of the trial at the airports on CNN (which seems to be on all public airport TVs) as I was flying home to Washington state from New York, and was repelled at how the prosecutor kept referring to Zimmerman in a tone of disgust as “the murderer”, and how,every time it was time for the defense to speak up, they went to commercials. Sickening display of “guilty without a trial”. If I had a business with an opening for someone with a fat paycheck, I’d hire Zimmerman in a heartbeat.

So, I can still walk around my neighborhood armed as long as I’m not officially in the Neighborhood Watch program.

OK. Not a problem.

I’ll just let the official “Watch” people know I am a neighbor just out walking around, but that I won’t be part of their organization.

    Mannie in reply to profshadow. | October 31, 2013 at 9:11 am

    @profshadow: If you see crime, you may be better off Sgt Schultzing it and seeeee nosiiiing! If you call it in while walking about, you may be accused of being an unauthorized but de facto neighborhood watchman. You’d be a vigilante.

    What, me cynical?

I guess they want fewer people to be willing to be neighborhood watchmen, and more crime. Score one for the Thugs.

The Liberals, the hoplophobes, the gun grabbers are all enabling rape, murder, robbery, and other violent crimes. They do this by inhibiting honest Citizens from having weapons, and by encouraging the criminals. They don’t care if you are raped or murdered. Indeed, they prefer it if you were raped or murdered. They need victims to fuel their ideological agenda.

Notice that the highest crime rates are in cities where gun ownership is most severely restricted: Chicago, New York, DC … Gun ownership in the US is up, and the death rate is down. Guns save lives. But the Liberals worship victims.

It is time to hold the Liberals personally responsible for the crimes they encourage and for the murders they advocate. Make them social pariahs. Call them out and denounce them.

Hey, Liberal, how many rapes did you enable, today? How many kids did you kill?

Μολὼν λαβέ

Andrew Branca: (even Martin’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with him at the moment of the attack, testified that it was Martin who initiated the physical conflict).

Jeantel testified that Martin said “Get off, get off!” before the physical encounter, indicating that Zimmerman initiated the physical conflict.

    divemedic in reply to Zachriel. | October 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Which version of the story are we supposed to believe?

    In earlier statements–including a letter to Fulton and a recorded phone interview with family lawyer/advisor Crump–she had said that Martin had first asked Zimmerman, “Why you following me,” to which Zimmerman had responded, she said, “What are you talking about?”

    On April 2,for the first time, Jeantel claimed that she had hear Zimmerman say not the defensive phrase, “What are you talking about?” but much more confrontational phrase, “What are you doing around here?”

    Additionally, she said that it COULD have been Martin that said “Get off” not that it WAS him.

      divemedic: Which version of the story are we supposed to believe?

      Branca made the claim that Jeantel testified that Martin initiated the physical conflict. That isn’t supported by the actual testimony. Jeantel said she thought Zimmerman had grabbed Martin, then Martin had fought back, but she admits to uncertainty.

    Under cross-examination Jeantel conceded that for all she knew Trayvon Martin could have been saying he needed her to “get off” the phone. It was, after all, a PHONE conversation, she didn’t SEE anything, so certainly could not have testified in any credible way that Zimmerman grabbed Martin–a critical fact (in the unlikely event it was true) which she had somehow neglected to share with law enforcement in numerous statements over the prior year-plus. Credibility? Not much.

    She also provided an explicit motive for Trayvon to confront and initiate physical force upon Zimmerman–she claimed Trayvon had incorrectly profiled Zimmerman as a raping pedophile–or, as she put it, a “creepy-ass cracker”.

    In any case, it’s irrelevant. It is not lawful to respond to being grabbed (a non-deadly use of force) by repeatedly smashing the “grabbers” head into a sidewalk (a deadly use of force). Doing so violates the third principle of the law of self-defense, proportionality, and cannot qualify as lawful self-defense.

    The prosecution failed to convince the jury that Zimmerman provided any legal justification for Martin’s brutal attack upon him–hence the acquittal.

    The St. Trayvon crowd will never recover from their cognitive dissonance driven by the fact that the innocent man was properly acquitted and the vicious criminal aggressor was put in the ground.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Andrew Branca: It was, after all, a PHONE conversation …

      Your original comment was that Jeantel, “testified that it was Martin who initiated the physical conflict”. That wasn’t correct. She testified that she thought Martin initiated physical contact, even though she admitted she couldn’t be sure.

      Andrew Branca: In any case, it’s irrelevant. It is not lawful to respond to being grabbed (a non-deadly use of force) …

      If someone is grabbed, and hits back, it can lead to both parties fighting on the ground. One will usually end up on top.

      Andrew Branca: … by repeatedly smashing the “grabbers” head into a sidewalk (a deadly use of force)

      Martin’s body was quite a distance from the sidewalk.

        Regarding your first point, what Jeantel “thought” is merely speculation, as she herself acknowledged, not evidence. So, not relevant or useful.

        Your second point is your own speculation, also not relevant or useful

        Your “quite a distance” looks to be about 5 or 6 feet in the photo you provide, which is totally consistent with the ground fight described in Zimmerman’s narrative, and therefore your characterization is neither relevant nor useful.

        You should realize that if you expect engagement you need to make it interesting, which from my perspective means you are providing information or insight that is either relevant or useful, preferably both. Your current performance falls well short of that modest standard.

        That’s all the time I have for you. Adieu.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Andrew Branca: Regarding your first point, what Jeantel “thought” is merely speculation, as she herself acknowledged, not evidence. So, not relevant or useful.

          You made a claim which wasn’t accurate. Perhaps you can read Jeantel’s testimony as supporting a particular theory, but that is quite a different thing from saying she testified that Martin initiated the physical conflict.

          Andrew Branca: Your “quite a distance” looks to be about 5 or 6 feet in the photo you provide

          Looks well over a body-length.

          Andrew Branca: That’s all the time I have for you.

          Not a problem.

        Phillep Harding in reply to Zachriel. | October 31, 2013 at 6:42 pm

        The photo does not provide enough information regarding distance, but, if the body is under the yellow tarp, it is downslope from the sidewalk. Further would be speculation.

          Phillep Harding: The photo does not provide enough information regarding distance, but, if the body is under the yellow tarp, it is downslope from the sidewalk. Further would be speculation.

          It’s fairly clear that Zimmerman’s head was not on the concrete with he shot Martin.

          Zachriel writes: “It’s fairly clear that Zimmerman’s head was not on the concrete with he shot Martin.”

          Another pathetically irrelevant point.

          Deadly force in self-defense is justified by the reasonable apprehension of an IMMINENT threat of death or grave bodily harm. As expert testimony at the trial showed, a good sign that someone intends to commit aggravated assault against you is that they are ALREADY in the process of committing aggravated assault against you. Aggravated assault is sufficient to justify the use of deadly force in self-defense under FL law.

          Zimmerman may have managed to squirm off the sidewalk before he successfully drove a 9mm bullet into his vicious attacker’s heart, but that attacker was beating him right up to the discharge of that round–as evidenced by numerous 911 recordings. Zimmerman’s pleas for help stopped the instant the shot was fired–because that’s when the attack upon him ceased.

          Hey, Zachriel, how many times will you allow an attacker to drive your head into a sidewalk before you use whatever means are necessary to stop that attack? The head of your spouse? Your child?

          Once? Twice? Ten times?

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Andrew Branca: Another pathetically irrelevant point.

          Of course it’s relevant to understanding what happened.

          Andrew Branca: his vicious attacker’s heart

          If Zimmerman tried to grab Martin, then Martin may have been simply defending himself.

          Andrew Branca: how many times will you allow an attacker to drive your head into a sidewalk before you use whatever means are necessary to stop that attack? The head of your spouse? Your child?

          And how many times will you let someone follow you in the dark, then grab your child, before you intervene?

          How boring, more speculative blather.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Andrew Branca: Regarding your first point, what Jeantel “thought” is merely speculation, as she herself acknowledged, not evidence. So, not relevant or useful.

          You made a claim which wasn’t accurate. Perhaps one can read Jeantel’s testimony as supporting a particular theory, but that is quite a different thing from saying she testified that Martin initiated the physical conflict.

          Andrew Branca: That’s all the time I have for you.

          Not a problem.

[…] law by a jury of his peers and Sanford is basically going to act as if he was guilty. As stated at Legal Insurrection, Zimmerman successfully and lawfully defended himself against an attacker and possible real harm, […]

Neighborhood Watch does not typically involve scheduled hours of participation… volunteers are expected to keep an eye out for suspicious and criminal behaviors at all times.

So where does the new police chief propose to draw his imaginary line between a resident’s private life and participation in the NW program?

And how does he propose to distinguish between merely a resident of a community with a Neighborhood Watch program, and an actual participant? Do Sanford’s NW groups now need to provide gun owning residents with a means to opt out of the program so that these residents are not perceived to be in violation of Chief Smith’s prohibition?

I imagine Sanford will see many of its NW groups disbanding in the near future… it’s become too much of a liability.

    Archer in reply to nivico. | October 31, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    nivico: “I imagine Sanford will see many of its NW groups disbanding in the near future… it’s become too much of a liability.”

    A lot of folks above are speculating that that’s not an unintended consequence; that was the idea. NW programs – especially diligent ones that actually watch and patrol – are pretty effective at deterring crime in residential neighborhoods. It’s great for the residents, whether they participate directly or not, and the closer-knit the community, the better it works.

    But it’s not so good for the police commissioners or city council members, who need to prove that they are the ones writing policy that reduces crime. To reduce crime, they need to have crime. When the peons effectively police themselves, they have no need for professional police forces, and that is unacceptable for the powers-that-be.

Zimmerman was not on Neighborhood Watch, but on his way to a store when he spotted Martin. Under the new law could would a NW person be prohibited from carrying at any time in their neighborhood?

diggingforinfomation | November 1, 2013 at 7:57 am

Concept of self defense is entangled with CHL laws. Could the Sanford’s Florida new rules create a new liability issues for them? Lets assume a CHL holder member of the neighborhood is unarmed and is killed. Could it be argued by banding a legal right to meet for with force, they assume the oblation to protect from harm people acting on their behalf?

    I presume the police would simply argue that the Neighborhood Watch volunteer assumed that risk when they volunteered for the program with the full awareness that they would not be permitted to be armed.

    The police aren’t telling anyone they can’t be armed (assuming they are otherwise lawfully permitted to be armed), they are simply telling people you can’t be armed if you’re acting under the aegis of the police-run Neighborhood Watch program.

    It’s a foolish policy, in my opinion, but there aren’t any particular legal reasons they can’t put it in place.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

I’m sure they be loaded with volunteers NOW. Dolts.