Recent “Stand Your Ground” Laws Extend Justifiable Home Protection Violence into the Streets
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
If George Zimmerman avoids prosecution for the February 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, he will have the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to thank.
At the urging of the NRA, ALEC lawyers crafted the template for a “Stand Your Ground” law that provided immunity to individuals who defend themselves in public. The law, based on the 17th century “Castle Doctrine” that allows a person to use deadly force in one’s home, expanded this right to public settings, such as a street. It was the NRA that lobbied Florida lawmakers in 2005 to adopt the current law.
After winning the battle in Florida, the NRA and ALEC pushed other states to adopt similar laws. Today, nearly two dozen have “Stand Your Ground” laws on their books.
In fact, Martin isn’t even the most recent black youth to be killed in a Stand Your Ground case. On March 3, 20-year-old Bo Morrison was at a loud party in Slinger, Wisconsin. Next door to the party, Adam Kind was awakened and called the police. Morrison was out on bail and, evidently afraid that if the police found him he would be jailed, he ran outside and hid on Kind’s back porch. When Kind saw Morrison, he shot him once with a handgun and killed him. In December, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law an expanded Castle Doctrine regulation, and it was this law that led authorities to announce on Wednesday that they would not file charges against Kind.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
NRA Pushed 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Across The Nation (by Susan Ferris, iWatch News)
Gun Laws Have a Price (by Karen Finney, The Hill)
Party, Call to Police Preceded Fatal Shooting in Slinger (by Bruce Veilmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
23 States with "Stand Your Ground" Gun Laws Like the One that Let Trayvon Martin's Killer Go Free (by Cora Currier, ProPublica)
Smart ALEC Models This Year’s Fashionable Conservatism for Lawmakers (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Ken Broder, AllGov)
Castle Doctrine (Wikipedia)
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