Recently, the nation reacted in horror to news that Florida resident George Zimmerman gunned down defenseless teen Trayvon Martin. On April 10, special prosecutor Angela Corey charged George Zimmerman with second-degree murder for the kiling of Trayvon Martin. But Corey also stated that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law will be hard to counter in Zimmerman's trial.
Tragically, it appears that rather than use this as a learning experience, the National Rifle Association is now pushing all 50 states to adopt these so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws.
Passed first in Florida, the law allows use of deadly force by someone who simply feels threatened by another, even when confrontation is avoidable.
25 states have already adopted such laws despite their demonstrated danger. Tell the remaining states to reject all "Stand Your Ground" laws before even more people are murdered for presenting imaginary threats.
We, the undersigned, believe that citizens' rights to self-defense are being distorted by these so-called "stand your ground" laws.
We also suspect the NRA is exploiting concerns about self-defense to push laws that encourage owning and using firearms.
Certainly if such laws can be misconstrued to defend vigilante acts like the one George Zimmerman is accused of committing against Trayvon Martin, a defenseless black youth, the laws are flawed and should be rejected, and if necessary, replaced with those that do not encourage indiscriminate use of weapons and other forms of violence.
Certainly it is important to protect one's right to self-defense and defense of home and family, but others have rights, including freedom from stalking and unjustified assault and murder, and laws must be written in ways that balance these rights.
We ask that other states consider the alarming rise of so-called "justifiable homicides" in Florida since it adopted its "stand your ground" law and especially consider the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin and reject the NRA's attempts to push these flawed and violent laws on your state.
Thank you for your attention to these serious concerns.