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Stand-Your-Ground Protest Draws 1,000

The Rev. Al Sharpton and the mothers of two unarmed black youths shot to death in Florida led protesters in Tallahassee Monday, as lawmakers in the House considered revamping gun laws.

The 1,000 marchers threatened to boycott Walt Disney World and the Tropicana juice company if the controversial “stand your ground” law is not changed, The Tampa Tribune reports. They handed out cards with with the phone numbers to both companies, which they said have been complicit in the state’s “moral failure,” the Tribune reports. 

“We’re here because Florida is stuck on stupid,” U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, (D-Jacksonville), told The Tribune.

Sharpton called Florida “ground zero” for gun-friendly self-defense laws now in more than two dozen states, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Florida’s 2005 law allows people to meet force with force if they feel threatened has been blames for a series of high-profile shootings, most notably those that killed Trayvon Martin 17-year-old Jordan Davis in Jacksonville. The victims’ mothers walked alongside Sharpton at the rally.

Meanwhile, the so-called “Pop-Tart Bill” continues to move forward in the House of Representatives, and is heading to two more Senate committees. The bill removes an existing zero-tolerance policy for children pretending to use pencils and fingers as guns, the Orlando Sentinelreports. The bill, nicknamed for a case where a child chewed a Pop Tart in the shape of a gun, also would allow students to play with toy guns and wear clothing with guns depicted on them.

An attempt to repeal the “stand your ground” law was defeated in a House committee. Another bill that would make minor changes to the law is facing strong opposition in the House. Leaders of the Republican-controlled House say there are no plans to consider a repeal of the law, the Sentinel reports.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.