POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Stand Your Ground laws … an authorization for murder? … The combination of NRA pressure to return America to a gun-toting 19th century vigilante society and the incompetence of Florida legislators who cannot draft intelligent legislation represents a real tragedy for this nation, and particularly for Trayvon Martin and his family

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 22, 2012

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Trayvon Martin

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Adam Winkler writes (3/21/12)…

Adam Winkler is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law and the author of “Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America.” 

  • Stand Your Ground laws, which eliminate the longstanding legal requirement that a person threatened outside of his or her own home retreat rather than use force, are the latest manifestation of the political strength of the gun rights movement.
  • First adopted in Florida in 2005, Stand Your Ground laws, drafted and promoted by the National Rifle Association, have since been enacted in some form in more than 20 states.
  • The Trayvon Martin shooting suggests that, in the rush to adopt these laws, lawmakers and gun advocates have gone too far in authorizing the use of deadly force.
  • Florida legislators insist the Stand Your Ground law does not provide a defense for people like Zimmerman, who pursue and confront someone.
    • Florida Senator Durrell Peadon, who sponsored the law, said that Zimmerman “has no protection under my law.”
    • According to state Representative Dennis Baxley, “There’s nothing in this statute that authorizes you to pursue and confront people.”
    • The law, Baxley notes, was designed only “to prevent you from being attacked by other people.”
  • The problem is that nothing in Peadon and Baxley’s law says this.
    • It provides that any person may use deadly force when “he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.”

Florida’s law unambiguously authorizes people

to pursue and confront others.

  • Stand Your Ground laws should only allow what their name suggests: permit people who are threatened to stand their own ground and protect themselves. They should not give people the right to use force to defend someone else’s ground.
  • Under no circumstances should people be able to confront others in a hostile manner, end up using deadly force, and escape punishment.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/03/21/do-stand-your-ground-laws-encourage-vigilantes/what-the-florida-stand-your-ground-law-says

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LMW COMMENT …

The combination of NRA pressure to return America to a gun-toting 19th century vigilante society and the incompetence of Florida legislators who cannot draft intelligent legislation represents a real tragedy for this nation, and particularly for Trayvon Martin and his family. It is unbelievable that his murderer, apparently a self-appointed neighborhood watch thug, has not been arrested.

Extreme right-wing, NRA, Christian Conservatives are systematically taking over the legislatures in state after state. That is, of course, their political right in a democratic society.

But if those of us who find their agenda reprehensible let them get away with transforming America into something we will hate, then shame on us.

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6 Responses to “* Stand Your Ground laws … an authorization for murder? … The combination of NRA pressure to return America to a gun-toting 19th century vigilante society and the incompetence of Florida legislators who cannot draft intelligent legislation represents a real tragedy for this nation, and particularly for Trayvon Martin and his family”

  1. Chris said

    FL statutes 776.013 (3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0776/0776ContentsIndex.html

  2. Chris said

    I do not think that adding another gun law will prevent poor judgment. On the surface it seems this individual used very poor judgment at very least. Perhaps when all the facts are known it will clarify the issue. Charges may be in the future as the FBI is also looking at his case.
    Currently there are more laws on the books than can even be counted. None of those laws or new ones will prevent harm from happening.
    Many say the don’t want to infringe on my right to defend myself however thats exactly what happens when I don’t have my gun on me. My gun in its holster on my person is no threat to anyone who is not intent on harming myself or my loved ones. Concealed carry works and should be the law of the land.

    • Lew Weinstein said

      Do you think people with guns should be allowed to pursue and attack and murder people when they are not in danger themselves? At the very least, “stand your ground” laws should clearly state that such attacks are not permitted.

      • Chris said

        I think that if you chase someone down that is not a threat to you and kill them it is murder.

        I also believe that as a citizen I should not be required to flee or back down in the threat of grave or bodily injury.

        I would not want you or anyone else to think I agree with the alleged actions of this shooter. I do not.

        I do believe that I have a right to be armed anywhere I am legally allowed to be, and that in itself does not pose a threat to others. Except those individuals that bring violent assault on innocent citizens.

        This case is an unfortunate situation for the victim’s family. It also worries me because of the actions a few, many will be affected. Once again the media will attack the gun and gun owners and politicians will wax about how we need have reasonable restrictions to prevent such things from happening again. The truth is it will not prevent it from happening again. Legislation can’t fix stupid.

  3. Lew Weinstein said

    I am not objecting to the right to defend yourself. The problem is that the Florida law (and perhaps others) does not prohibit pursuit when their is no imminent danger. In this case, the police were pleading with the gunman to back off and let them handle it. Instead, he went after and murdered an innocent unarmed boy. The law as written may prohibit charging the gunman with murder. Surely you don’t support the right to pursue and kill someone who is not (or at least no longer) threatening you.

  4. Chris said

    This case sounds like the error of an individual. It has nothing to do with gun laws.
    I am a card carrying member of the NRA. I do not agree with everything they do or promote. Want to look at the effect of the concealed carry laws across the US look at the data. Crime is down across the country especially in areas where concealed carry is permitted. You want to see the effect of strict gun laws on honest citizens? I invite you to come see Camden, NJ, Newark, NJ, or NY, NY. An armed society is a polite society. If you choose not be armed that’s your right, don’t infringe on my right not to be a willing victim.

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