NRA apologists defend ‘stand your ground’ laws

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I posted about this the other day: the Washington Post reports, Everything
you need to know about 'stand your ground' laws
:

The National Rifle Association lobbied hard for the measure, while law enforcement officials like Miami’s police chief opposed it.

* * *

Since Florida became the first state to pass an explicit stand your ground law, more than 30 others
have passed some version of it, with the help of a group called the
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a organization that
promotes conservative bills. Here’s a 2012 map of stand your ground laws nationwide.

W-Shooting

In the wake of the Florida case, we can expect an increase in calls to repeal or at least revisit the laws across the country.

I have been waiting to see how long it takes before the push-back begins from the "happiness is a warm gun" crowd at the NRA. Today we hear from "Ms. NRA," Governor Jan Brewer in the senior division, and from "Miss NRA," Arizona Republic columnist Joanna Allhands, in the junior division.

Howard Fischer reports on "Ms. NRA," Brewer:
Fla. case doesn't change her mind on 'stand your ground'
:

Gov. Jan Brewer said Tuesday nothing in the death of Trayvon Martin or
the acquittal of George Zimmerman of murder charges gives her second
thoughts about having signed Arizona's own "stand your ground" law.

* * *

[T]he governor said the incident does not taint the whole concept behind the statute.

"I support 'stand your own ground,' " she said.

"I think it's important," Brewer continued. "I think it's a constitutional right."

Really? Where exactly in the Constitution do you find this provision, Governor? Please, point it out for me. Or are you conflating the "stand your ground" statutory provision which altered the common law standards for self-defense with an absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment? It must be in the Second Amendment because the NRA (and ALEC) wrote the model legislation — is that what you are saying, Governor?

Arizona's version [of stand your ground] is somewhat more restrictive than the Florida statute.

It
says there is no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly
physical force "if the person is in a place where the person may legally
be and is not engaged in an unlawful act."

But the language is
paired with other laws which say that right to remain and fight is
linked to someone else's use or threatened use of deadly physical force.
Bodily harm or preventing a felony are not justification.

Brewer
said she does not see [the] law allowing people to stand their ground as
promoting situations where individuals purposely follow someone, leading
to the incident, as testimony showed Zimmerman had done.

"I think
anybody that, I mean, anybody that has a gun and has a right to carry
it, that they would be very judicious in their actions and careful," she
said. And Brewer said it's wrong to blame what happened in Florida on
the statute.

"Those kinds of things could happen even if you didn't have those laws," the governor said.

Yes, Governor, those "things could happen." But under the common law, Zimmerman bears the burden of proof to establish self-defense as a justification. The Florida law relieves him of this burden and shifts the burden to prosecutors. And if Zimermman had exercised his right under Florida law for a stand your ground determination, he could have been immunized from both criminal and civil prosecution. (Arizona's law does not go this far).

As for your insane comment that "I think
anybody that, I mean, anybody that has a gun and has a right to carry
it, that they would be very judicious in their actions and careful," in what alternate reality do you live?

Next we have "Miss NRA" at the Arizona Republic, Joanna Allhands. 'Stand your ground' getting bad rap:

I know, I know. People are upset about the George Zimmerman verdict.
They figure something must be wrong with the system when a morally
culpable guy can go free.

But “stand your ground” is getting a bad rap.

These laws weren’t designed to give a free pass to people with itchy
trigger fingers, as [Attorney General Eric] Holder suggests; the first few were enacted to
counter laws that required people to flee, even if someone broke into
their house or mugged them on the street.

That would be American common law, which we inherited from British common law. The common law required a duty to retreat if possible. And common law required the use of reasonable and necessary force: the defendant does not have the right to determine what constitutes
"reasonable force" because the defendant would always maintain they
acted reasonably and thus would never be guilty. Yet this is precisiely what Florida's stand your ground law grants. It takes the determination out of the hands of a jury, and grants a vigilante who kills someone using deadly force a license to kill when the only other eye-witness was the victim.

Arizona’s version of the law has a sensible threshold, allowing people to use deadly force only when someone else has used or threatened to use deadly force.

Agreed. The common law requires the amount of force must be proportionate and reasonable given the value
of the interests being protected and the harm likely to be caused by
use of force. I think we can all agree that George Zimmerman's use of a gun to kill a minor armed only with a bag of Skittles and an ice tea was not "proportionate and reasonable," and yet, he is not culpable under Florida's stand your ground law.

We spend a lot of time talking about the law in concealed-carry
class, and for good reason. Students are taught to flee from conflict if
they can, and to never reveal their tactical advantage (i.e. a firearm)
until they absolutely need to use it.

Just because Zimmerman ignored those common-sense rules doesn’t mean the concept of self-defense is overblown, as Holder suggests. It simply protects those thrust into conflict if, heaven forbid, they are forced to pull the trigger.

Ah yes, the paranoid delusionals who are irrationally fearful all the time, and those who have a Superman complex fantasy of being a super-hero who saves the day. If you go looking for trouble, trouble will find you.

The common law standards for self defense worked well for centuries. This NRA inspired vigilante "stand your ground" law is "overblown," and is a perversion of long-standing American and British common law doctrines.

It is also causing problems. Study Says 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Increase Homicides:

In a new study,
an economics professor and a PhD student at Texas A&M University
take a broader look at the laws’ effect. The authors, Professor Mark
Hoekstra and Cheng Cheng, use state-level crime data from 2000 to 2009
to determine whether the laws deter crime.

The answer, they conclude, is no. In fact, the evidence suggests the laws have led to an increase in homicides.

From the study:

Results indicate that the prospect of facing additional
self-defense does not deter crime.  Specifically, we find no evidence of
deterrence effects on burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault.
 Moreover, our estimates are sufficiently precise as to rule
out meaningful deterrence effects.

In contrast, we find significant evidence that the laws increase
homicides. Suggestive but inconclusive evidence indicates that castle
doctrine laws increase the narrowly defined category of justifiable
homicides by private citizens by 17 to 50 percent, which translates into
as many as 50 additional justifiable homicides per year nationally due
to castle doctrine. More significantly, we find the laws increase murder
and manslaughter by a statistically significant 7 to 9 percent, which
translates into an additional 500 to 700 homicides per year nationally
across the states that adopted castle doctrine.

Thus, by lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal
force, castle doctrine laws induce more of it. This increase in
homicides could be due either to the increased use of lethal force in
self-defense situations, or to the escalation of violence in otherwise
non-lethal conflicts. We suspect that self-defense situations are
unlikely to explain all of the increase, as we also find that murder
alone is increased by a statistically significant 6 to 11 percent.

As the authors note, the increase in homicides may not be viewed by
everyone as “unambiguously bad.” It could be driven by individuals
protecting themselves from imminent harm by using lethal force. But it
could also be driven by an escalation in violence that, absent the
“castle doctrine,” wouldn’t have ended in serious injury for either
party, they say.

Can't we have a serious discussion about "stand your ground" laws rather than hearing from a pair of NRA cheeerleaders?

UPDATE: Oh dear Lord, the NRA is now asserting that "stand your ground" is "a fundamental human right." After Zimmerman Verdict, NRA Says ‘Stand Your Ground’ Is A Human Right. I would think a person walking down the street minding his own damn business and not bothering anyone has a "fundamental human right" to be left alone and not be accosted by a vigilante with a gun and Superman complex.

One response to “NRA apologists defend ‘stand your ground’ laws

  1. “NRA apologists defend ‘stand your ground’ laws”

    Criminal apologists not only oppose “Stand your ground” laws but all self-defense.

    “Really? Where exactly in the Constitution do you find this provision, Governor? Please, point it out for me.”
    The Bill of rights is not a list of rights.
    Ninth Amendment “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    Most citizens would agree that they have a Constitutional and a natural right of self-defense.
    “The Florida law relieves him of this burden and shifts the burden to prosecutors.”
    The burden is always on the prosecution.
    “And if Zimermman had exercised his right under Florida law for a stand your ground determination, he could have been immunized from both criminal and civil prosecution.”
    Stand your ground was not an issue in the Zimmerman case. He was pinned to the ground and unable to retreat.
    “In fact, the evidence suggests the laws have led to an increase in homicides.”
    No, all violent crime including homicides have been decreasing. In fact, our right to Keep and BEAR arms have been increasingly restored over last several years and more citizens are now free to carry firearms in more places since the year 1900. Yet, homicides, including homicides with firearms, as well as all other violent crime have been decreasing since 2006. Moreover, after a dramatic increase in firearms sales and ownership after the last Presidential election including an increase in first time firearms purchases and an increase in firearms carry permits, citizen disarmament zealots and organizations predicted that there would be a corresponding increase in homicides and other violent crime. However, the U.S. homicide rate decreased from 5.0 per 100,000 in 2009 to 4.8 per 100,000 in 2010, and 4.7 per 100,000 in 2011.

    In addition, two recent studies found that firearms homicides have dropped 49% since 1993.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-4

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/08/u-s-gun-homicides-have-dropped-since-1993-peak-report-says/
    “Can’t we have a serious discussion about “stand your ground” laws rather than hearing from a pair of NRA cheeerleaders?”
    We can’t as long as citizen disarmament zealots call those who oppose their views “Cheerleaders.”
    “I would think a person walking down the street minding his own damn business and not bothering anyone has a “fundamental human right” to be left alone and not be accosted by a vigilante with a gun and Superman complex.”
    Zimmerman was not accosting Martin. He was keeping surveillance on a teen acting suspiciously. Zimmerman was not a vigilante. He contacted law enforcement so they could take action. Martin was not “Walking down the street minding his own damn business and not bothering anyone…” He was walking around looking around as if he was looking for an unoccupied home in a community that was plagued with break-ins and home invasions, and he attacked a neighborhood watch volunteer and not a “Vigilante with a gun and a Superman complex.”
    Of course, criminal apologists and citizen disarmament zealots, their organizations, and their media allies will misconstrue the facts to support their dogma.