The controversy surrounding Stand Your Ground laws is at an all-time high, but states with the law in place aren’t budging.
The July 13th acquittal of George Zimmerman has had politicians, media, and ordinary citizens alike calling for an in-depth analysis of Stand Your Ground laws and the state governments that have implemented them.
Although the trend to adopt the “no duty to retreat” clause in numerous states’ criminal law books has only developed within the past decade, the principle itself is older than our nation itself.
The Castle Doctrine is a 17th Century English law which was eventually adopted by all 50 states. The legal doctrine permitted the use of force against intruders to the home, providing immunity from the duty to retreat in such circumstances. Anywhere other than the home, force was only justifiable once you’ve managed to go as far as possible.
Stand Your Ground laws expanded the clause to places outside the home, covering “any place a person has a right to be.”
It has been the biggest strength of the guns rights movement, drafted and promoted by the NRA.
In the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death and resulting Zimmerman verdict, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has expressed the need to examine the “shoot first” laws – as dubbed by their opponents – a little bit more closely. He recently stated:
“It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken.”
The protests have been endless, as well as the dialogue surrounding the issue. At the present moment, however, it doesn’t look like many states who already abide by Stand Your Ground and the Castle Doctrine have any actionable intention to revise their provisions.
Take a look at all of the states who currently uphold them in the following pages, and tell us your thoughts in the comments.