By Bill Cotterell
TALLAHASSEE, Florida | Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:51pm EST
(Reuters) - A blue-ribbon task force on Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law formally recommended against repealing the statute, which is at the core of the legal defense in the fatal shooting last year of teenager Trayvon Martin.
Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed the task force to help allay a national furor over guns and race following the February 26, 2012, shooting of the 17-year-old black youth in Sanford, Florida.
Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch activist who said he thought the teenager was acting suspiciously in Zimmerman's gated community. Martin was unarmed and was walking back from a convenience store to the condominium where he was staying with his father.
"I met with Trayvon Martin's parents and our hearts go out to the entire family for their loss, especially as we approach the anniversary of his death," Scott said in releasing the recommendations of his 19-member Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection.