Senate Democrats to Have Hearing on “Stand Your Ground” State Laws

July 20 2013
by GSL Staff
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450px-Richard_Durbin_official_photoSenator Dick Durbin (D-IL), the second highest ranking of the majority party in the Senate will hold a hearing to analyze “stand your ground” laws across the country.

The hearing is scheduled for September and the witness list is expected to be released in August.

According to POLITICO,

Durbin’s hearing will probe the roles of the NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council — which helps draft conservative legislation in statehouses — in the crafting of the “stand your ground” laws, his office said. Durbin also plans to examine the legal definition of self defense, how the laws have affected shooting confrontations and how the laws interact with racial profiling by law enforcement.

Stand your ground is the common name for self defense laws that do not require the victim of a crime to attempt to retreat before resorting to deadly force.

Over 30 states have “stand your ground” laws, “castle doctrines”, or rely on case law supporting no duty to retreat when looking into self defense cases.

Proponents say the laws protect victims of crime from becoming criminals themselves while opponents argue the laws make people more likely to get into physical altercations and resort to force more quickly.

The move to analyze the law comes less than a week following the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial. Zimmerman was accused of second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claimed self defense in the shooting. It should be noted that Zimmerman claimed a “classic self defense” defense, and not a defense under Florida’s stand your ground law. However, some have argued that the law’s existence is one of the reasons Zimmerman confronted Martin.

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