Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed last year, testified before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday on the “Stand Your Ground” law. Fulton, along with certain members of the U.S. Senate, hopes to see “Stand Your Ground” laws amended across 22 states.
The “Stand Your Ground” law was brought up as a possible defense after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin back in February of 2012. The law allows people to use deadly force if they feel like their lives are threatened without having to retreat. Zimmerman said that Martin was the aggressor in this case and was acquitted of the murder charges against him in July.
“I just wanted to come here to…let you know how important it is that we amend this stand your ground because it certainly did not work in my case,” Fulton told a Senate subcommittee during a hearing on the law. “The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today. This law does not work.”
— Steve Seidler (@GrayShadowTech) October 30, 2013
“What kind of message are we sending if our kids…don’t feel safe; don’t feel safe simply walking to the store to get candy and a drink?” Fulton continued. “We need to do something about this law when our kids cannot feel safe in our own communities.”
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who led the hearing, said it is time for such laws “to be carefully reconsidered.”
“Whatever the motivations were behind the passage of these laws, it is clear that these laws often go too far in encouraging confrontations to escalate into deadly violence,” Durbin said. “They are resulting in unnecessary tragedies, and they are diminishing accountability under the justice system.”
Senator Ted Cruz also spoke at the Senate subcommittee hearing and addressed the notion that the “Stand Your Ground” law is a form of veiled racism.
“Sadly, we know that some in our political process have a desire to exploit that tragic violent incident for agendas that have nothing to do with that young man who lost his life,” Cruz said. “We have seen efforts to undermine the verdict of the jury and more broadly to inflame racial tensions that I think are sad and irresponsible.”
No way for any stand your ground law to be racist, since everyone can use that defense if needed. We understand… http://t.co/ipGYH1I7CT
— Liberty's Warrior (@libertyswarrior) October 30, 2013
Trayvon Martin’s mother wasn’t the only mom at the “Stand Your Ground” law hearing on Tuesday. Lucia Holman McBath attended the Senate subcommittee hearing on behalf of her son Jordan Russell Davis, who she said was also a victim of the “Stand Your Ground” law.
Davis, who was also 17 and from Florida, was killed about a year ago when Michael David Dunn allegedly fired nine rounds on a vehicle the teen was in. Dunn told authorities that he saw a gun, but they didn’t find one.
“That man was empowered by the ‘stand your ground’ statute,” McBath said. “I am here to tell you there was no ground to stand. There was no threat. No one was trying to invade his home, his vehicle, nor threatened him or his family.”
Several states are considering making changes to their “Stand Your Ground” laws. Alabama, for example, is considering the following amendment that would say the law isn’t applicable if “he or she initially pursued another person engaged in a lawful activity in a public place and the pursuit resulted in a confrontation and the use of force, including deadly physical force, against the person initially pursued.”[Image via WikiMedia Commons]