New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with leaders of national African-American organizations and others, today announced a national campaign to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws that have passed in 25 states.
As Care2 reported here, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” provision, otherwise known as “Shoot First,” is at the center of the firestorm surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
But as many concerned citizens have pointed out, 17-year-old Trayvon was only one of many homicides that have taken place under similar circumstances in the U.S.
The campaign – “Second Chance on Shoot First” – will focus on convincing state legislators who have supported shoot first laws to join the growing movement to reform or repeal these dangerous laws. The National Rifle Association drafted Florida’s law in 2005 and helped enact similar versions in other states, eventually bringing the total to 25 states by 2010 and those states have seen sharp increases in justifiable homicides.
“Stand Your Ground” laws allow people who feel threatened to use deadly force—even if they have an opportunity, as Zimmerman did, to safely avoid a confrontation. The law allows use of deadly force by someone who simply feels threatened by another, even when confrontation is avoidable. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense even though Martin was unarmed.
In 2005, Florida became the first state to explicitly expand a person’s right to use deadly force for self-defense. Deadly force is justified if a person is gravely threatened, in the home or “any other place where he or she has a right to be.”
25 states have already adopted such laws despite their demonstrated danger. If you agree with Mayor Bloomberg and believe these laws are outrageous, please sign our petition telling all states to reject all “Stand Your Ground” laws before even more people are murdered for presenting imaginary threats.
Photo Credit: Kevin J. Dotson
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