A Senate hearing on “Stand Your Ground” laws like the one that was not part of the George Zimmerman trial in Florida has been postponed following today’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
Trayvon Martin’s mother was to testify before the Senate this week on Stand Your Ground legislation, despite the fact that George Zimmerman waived his right to a “stand your ground” immunity hearing and was acquitted based on pure self-defense.
Those who don’t know or just don’t care about those details are convinced that Stand Your Ground creates an “atmosphere” in which whites feel legally empowered to hunt down young black men. Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick and others have promised to boycott Florida, and the Dream Defenders staged a month-long sit-in at the state capitol building.
Very briefly, though, all Stand Your Ground laws do is set in writing that a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if he believes force is necessary to prevent death or bodily harm or prevent a forcible felony. In its study of Stand Your Ground, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection concluded that “all persons who are conducting themselves in a lawful manner have a fundamental right to stand their ground and defend themselves from attack with proportionate force in every place they have a lawful right to be.”
Uber-liberal Mother Jones had a handy graphic all ready for tomorrow’s debate, too, courtesy of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Stand Your Ground has its fans as well.