On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the delegates at the annual NAACP convention to criticize what is known as the Stand Your Ground laws that are in effect in about half of the states in the US. A.G. Holder is not the first one who has attacked this law, nor will he be the last. This controversial law has been drawn out and well scrutinized since the first utterance of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Never mind the fact that Stand Your Ground was never used as a defense and that Mr. Zimmerman waived his right to a hearing to determine if Stand Your Ground was a defense; this trial has continued to be cited as an example of how dangerous this law has been to our communities.
Color of Change, the black activist group co-founded by the former Green Job Czar Van Jones; has launched a petition to end Stand Your Ground laws. Stevie Wonder has vowed to boycott any state that has a Stand Your Ground law because of the verdict. Even Mayor Bloomberg has vowed to fight the existence of Stand Your Ground laws; or as he prefers to call them, “Shoot First Laws” while citing the case. Those are just a few examples of how this administration’s pawns du jour are being used to demonize a sound law and strip many of us of our right of self-defense.
One of the ways these groups are trying to demonize Stand Your Ground is by claiming that the states that have passed this law or similar forms of Stand Your Ground has seen an increase in justifiable homicide since the law was enacted. The studies on whether Stand Your Ground equates to an increase in homicides is mixed. There are many variables to take into consideration such as what the states vs. what the FBI defines as justifiable homicide, the strength of the state’s gun laws, or whether murders and non-justifiable homicides have decreased in the states where these laws are enacted.
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