Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking with the NAACP, stated it is time to “question” stand your ground laws. He also stated, “that “Stand Your Ground” laws “sow dangerous conflict.” Following the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin who was carrying skittles and soda back to his home. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch guard, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
A stand-your-ground law is self defense law allowing the right to use reasonable force to defend one’s self without any requirement to evade or retreat. It is common in the United States.
Eric Holder aims at Stand Your Ground laws
Holder’s focus on “stand your ground” laws was as smart as it was responsible. More than 30 states have such laws, which eliminate the duty to retreat to safety if one believes one’s life is in danger. Zimmerman initially claimed he was standing his ground after killing Trayvon. Even though it was not formally part of the trial, the jury instructions noted that if the former neighborhood watch volunteer was not doing anything illegal and had a right to be where he was at the time of the shooting then “he had no duty to retreat and the right to stand his ground.”
“[I]t’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” Holder said. “It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.”
Everyone has a role to play in going after these shoot-first statutes. Having the attorney general express exasperation about them and issue a call to action to do something about them is a much-needed boost to those who want to roll them back. But these measures are put in place by public officials put in office by voters. And it’s those voters, all concerned people, who must demand the return of sanity to self-defense laws.
Fla. governor refuses to revisit “stand your ground” law
“There has to be a comprehensive approach to make sure every child in Florida can feel safe again,” Gabriel Pendas told the governor.
Scott listened intently and took copious notes on a yellow legal pad. But at the end of the meeting he told them directly that he supported keeping the “stand-your-ground” law intact and he would not call a special session