Most people have seen the news about the tragic murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Florida, and his killer, George Zimmerman, who has dodged punishment for his crime by invoking Florida’s “Shoot First” law, which was drafted and lobbied for by the NRA. He never should have been allowed to carry a gun.
But there is another story that hasn’t been told: The same thing could happen right here in Pennsylvania.
Last June, our state government adopted Pennsylvania’s own “Shoot First” doctrine which changed the law in Pennsylvania to allow the use of deadly force, even if it isn’t absolutely necessary. The bill was written by the NRA, sponsored by the most extreme members of the legislature, and signed into law by Governor Corbett. That means a killer like George Zimmerman might be able to get away with murder right here in Pennsylvania, using the exact same excuse.
The similarities don’t stop there.
Trayvon’s killer was carrying his gun using a concealed carry permit issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture – despite a personal history of violence, including assaulting a law enforcement officer and domestic abuse. Shockingly, because Governor Corbett and the legislature have refused to close the “Florida Loophole,” Pennsylvania residents are allowed to carry a hidden gun in Pennsylvania, using a Florida permit – even if local Pennsylvania police have already said “No.”
If we don’t act now to correct these terrible mistakes, it is only a matter of time before Pennsylvania suffers a local tragedy similar to the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Trayvon just lost his life. Every year, 1,200 Pennsylvanians are shot and killed. How many more lives must be lost before our legislature does the right thing?