In the wake of a Florida jury acquitting George Zimmerman in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, California Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, will call for a boycott on traveling to Florida or doing business there.
The case garnered national attention and ignited a debate about Florida's gun laws before a jury on Saturday found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter, concluding that the neighborhood watch volunteer acted in self-defense when he shot Martin.
The verdict could signal an "open season on vigilante-type justice," Holden said Wednesday in a telephone interview. So he is preparing a joint resolution, with the backing of the California Legislative Black Caucus, that advocates a boycott of Florida until the state repeals the "stand your ground" law that helped Zimmerman avoid conviction by invoking self-defense.
"What might be an appropriate way for us to usher in change would be for us to have a boycott that focuses on the seriousness and importance of looking at this law and making some changes," Holden said. "We want encourage those who are traveling and planning vacations and conventions and potential ways of spending dollars in the state to hold back until those changes have been made."
Holden added that he was motivated to call for a boycott in part because he has four college-age sons.
"If we lived in Florida, (the verdict) would send a chilling message about their safety and security," he said.
PHOTO: Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, is shown during the Assembly session in Sacramento on March 11, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.