Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stand Your Ground laws: The NRA’s latest outrage

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: "Stand Your Ground laws," which, in one form or another, are in effect in 22 states, are another in the long string of outrageous acts perpetrated by the National Rifle Association, the same group that said the Newton Massacre was something freedom loving Americans must just learn to live with and accept.

The picture above depicts then Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signing the first Stand Your Ground Law in 2005. The only woman in that picture is Marion Hammer, a former NRA president and the association’s chief Florida lobbyist. She is credited with writing and pushing through the Florida law.

Hammer has tried to push through other heinous laws such as one that would have fined pediatricians a whopping $5 million and sentenced them to five years in prison if they asked their patients any questions about guns in their homes. The bill effectively stopped physicians from seeking information that might protect the lives of infants and toddlers. Thankfully, a federal judge (and a President Bush appointee) blocked implementation of that law, saying it violated the First Amendment.

Stand Your Ground laws are solely intended to shield the person in a confrontation carrying a gun from using it against someone else in the confrontation who is not carrying one.

Today I was in a telephone conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be a criminal defense attorney in Florida, and I came up with the following scenario: I am a gun-carrying burglar who decides to break into a residential home home in an exclusive neighborhood sometime after midnight. Someone in the home hears me, grabs a baseball bat and comes out to confront me. When I see him, I pull out my gun and shoot him dead.

The attorney said I would be perfectly within my rights under the Stand Your Ground law in Florida because the moment I saw that bat I feared for my life. He said I would be acquitted if the case ever came to trial, which it probably wouldn’t. He also said what I described is essentially what happened in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin confrontation.

Now that’s scary.

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