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April 21st, 2012
02:37 PM ET

What should become of "stand your ground" laws?

It's one of the big questions coming out of the Trayvon Martin case: What should become of "stand your ground" laws? Florida has taken a step toward answering that. The state has appointed a task force tackle the question. Read our story here.
Wondering who's on the task force? Here's the list.
The group of 17 will hold meetings across the state to hear from residents. Expect some passionate testimony and debates.
Want to read the language in the law? Here it is.
Wondering if you live in a "stand your ground" state? My colleague at has put together this terrific interactive piece linking to gun laws in every state.
What do you think should become of these laws?
As we note in our coverage, it's unclear how the law may ultimately play out in the Trayvon Martin case. But the case has put the law - and ones like it in other states - under the national microscope. Share your thoughts below or send us an iReport!

Filed under: Josh Levs
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. dmarcink

    Leave the law as is.
    If I am put in danger either inside or outside of my house I believe you should be able to protect yourself.

    April 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  2. anne hornbach

    Interesting Josh. You need to know,several articles written yesterday in the Tampa Bay Tribune blog and Miami Herald re: the Panel in FL who will decide about the law and what ,if anything will happen to it. Most likely Nothing! This law is hated by law enforcemtn and private citizens alike. Itis totally subjective. The same people who voted it in are now going to vote it out? I seriously doubt it. This was a political gimmik by a very unpopular governor. If it were up to me, I would vote to repeal.

    April 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  3. thinkagain

    I think your short story about stand your ground was a great opening about the discussion to come on these laws. I think you were not accurate with your main graphic that said "state gun laws". Neither type of law, whether it is considered a "stand your ground" or "castle doctrine" have anything to do with state gun laws. These laws try to clarify when it is reasonable and justified for a person to use force or deadly force to defend against another's illegal use of force or deadly force in attempted robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, etc. Most were put in place after some grave miscarriage against a victim that defended himself while out in public.

    As you mentioned, a key piece of these laws is to clarify that a victim does not have to prove he could have gotten away without using force.

    What needs to be emphasized, I think, is not that the laws exist but why they exist and what each state requires to happen regarding arrest and investigation of the victim's story.

    April 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  4. Penny Marshall

    Zimmerman decided against the clear advice of law enforcement to pursue an unarmed teenager because he looked "suspicious" and then to shoot him. Nothing in the law says that this is a stand your ground case since he created the dangerous situation. His pursuit vitiates against any claim that this was self defense. The fact that he so misread the situation ( because he was motivated by his own biases) also makes his self defense claim implausible.
    Also why is it that media has changed the pictures of Zimmerman to a smiling more appealing picture, where just about every other picture of a suspect in his prison jumpsuit has been just fine?

    April 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  5. RickFromDetroit

    Allowing private citizens to carry guns in public is a "murder" waiting for a place to happen. The odds of a firearm preventing a crime compared to the odds of committing a crime are probably 100 to 1. In my younger days when I was weight lifting every day, I had guns pulled on me a number of times. No problem back then because I would grab the gun with my left hand and "hang" the villain by the throat with my right hand. When they let go of the gun I would unload it and hand it over to the "bartender" with the understanding that they did not return the weapon to the villain until they were leaving the establishment.

    Since I used to be an arrogant a$$ back then and didn't worry about how big they were because they would fall harder, this procedure worked fine most of the time. There were two different occasions when this didn't work because I did not see the weapon that some "dummy" pulled the trigger on before I knew what happened. Twice I have been shot in the head from some "idiot" who was carrying a gun in public. Obviously, I survived both incidents, but I did sustain a considerable amount of temporary & permanent amnesia.

    The majority of the people in this country would be much better off if we were to require a mandatory prison sentence for anyone carrying a "GUN IN PUBLIC," except law enforcement personal, and also require mandatory jail time for any crimes committed beyond a domestic disturbance such as a "bar room fight" or a "husband & wife" fighting without any serious injury. [I.E. crimes like strong arm robbery, abduction & rape, kidnapping, etc. should require mandatory jail time.]

    April 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  6. ken, nj

    Stand your ground laws need to be expanded to every state. If you are a community watch member you should be able to follow someone who is trespassing in your gated community without getting your face punched in and your head banged on the ground. What do you think would happen to travon martin if he punched and banged the head of a hasidic jew in a brooklyn hasidic community where they don't have a stand your ground law.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  7. Darkwater Firearms Academy

    I carry everyday. I don't live in or around any city or suburban area. I live in rural Ohio. Dangerous or deadly people don't always come in recognizeable shapes and sizes. Being a lawfully armed citizen has it's requirements and limitations. Stand your ground means just that. It doesn't mean you can run down the street and kill someone who doesn't pose a threat to your life anymore. My understanding of Stand Your Ground is the ability to use deadly force to defend myself, without having to flee my attacker. Not the other way around. I don't know what happened the day that Trayvon Martin was killed. I wasn't there. But I don't think the "stand your ground" defense can be used here? Not from what I understand of the reported shooting thus far. Pursuing someone outside my home when they are fleeing, and using deadly force against them, is murder in my mind. Not a justified shooting as far as I'm concerned. Zimmerman went from being an armed civilian protecting himself; to being a murderer, pursuing a victim. The law didn't fail Zimmerman, he failed to use good judgement, common defensive sense, and has cast a black cloud over the rest of us lawful armed citizens. With all the negative media propaganda surrounding this shooting, I hope that both armed and unarmed citizens realize that this is what we don't want to repeat in the future. It's not the law that needs to change. It's the education of the laws that needs to be more clearly understood by lawfully armed citizens. Being lawfully permitted to carry a firearm, doesn't mean you get a certificate of common sense with it. I shoot weekly, and attend classes to learn more about personal defense whenever I can. I expect other law-abiding citizens who arm themselves should do the same. Education of the laws, and understanding them is the dividing line between being law-abiding, or being the criminal.

    April 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

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