The senseless and tragic gunning down of Trayvon Martin has drawn national attention to Florida’s reckless “Stand Your Ground” law. This dangerous law not only encourages gun-toting vigilantism, it also allows people to use deadly force by simply asserting that they feel threatened.
These “shoot first” laws are so out of control that in some states, they give individuals more leeway in the use of deadly force than we allow our on-duty police officers.
It’s time to demand the repeal of dangerous “license to kill” laws that have spread across America. It starts with an all-out effort to repeal the Florida statute that is at the very center of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
People are predicting that the NRA is so powerful in Florida that the “shoot first” law can’t be repealed. We need to prove them wrong.
Under the so-called "Castle Doctrine," the law has long recognized a person’s right to defend themselves from attack in their own home. Typically in such circumstances, the burden is on the individual to prove that the use of deadly force was reasonable.
By sharp contrast, many “shoot first” laws permit the use of deadly force for self-defense in public places and shift the burden to prosecutors to show that the use of force was unreasonable. It all but amounts to a license to kill.
Pressed hard by the NRA and its allies, Florida legislators made their state the first in the nation to pass so-called “Stand Your Ground” legislation back in 2005.
That state’s law became a “model” for similarly dangerous legislation systematically pushed by a coordinated national assault on common sense. It's time we restored sanity to our gun laws and safety for our kids and communities.
Trayvon’s murder is heart rending – and he isn’t the only casualty. Since this law was passed, “justifiable homicides” in Florida have risen by 300%. And it’s not just in Florida. Today, at least 25 states have these dangerous “shoot first” laws on their books and the body count is growing.
Join with concerned people across America in demanding change. Help make Florida the first state in the nation to drive these reckless laws off the books and out of our lives. Urge Governor Scott and state legislative leaders to repeal the “shoot first” law.