Concealed Carry & Home Defense

‘Stand your ground’ laws not just GOP policy, records show

David Martosko Executive Editor
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Despite liberal protesters’ claims that Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” gun law demonstrates that Republican policymakers are responsible for the February death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an analysis of its legislative history shows that it was a bipartisan effort — and that no Florida Democratic state senator voted against it.

One Democrat, Fort Lauderdale state Sen. Mandy Dawson, missed the vote. But the rest of the Senate chamber supported it, 39-0.

The Florida House vote was 92-20. Twelve Democrats voted in favor.

And of the 15 states that have passed variations of the law since 2005, the year Florida’s model legislation became law, eight — a majority — had Democratic governors when the laws were enacted. None issued a veto. (RELATED: Full coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting)

Democratic governors who signed “stand your ground” bills, or otherwise permitted them to become law, include Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Brian Schweitzer of  Montana, John Lynch of New Hampshire, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Janet Napolitano of Arizona — now the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

The bills in Louisiana and West Virginia passed with Democratic control of both houses in the states’ legislatures, in 2006 and 2008, respectively.

“Stand your ground” laws typically provide for a defense against homicide charges for a person who acts in self-defense when he believes his life is in danger — even if he chooses not to retreat before using deadly force.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm now hosts “The War Room” on Current TV. During her March 29 show, Granholm broadcast three separate segments blaming Republicans for what she described as “the type of [gun] laws that permit George Zimmerman to walk free today.” Responding to a guest who described “stand your ground” as “a bad law … just a bad law” Granholm responded, “Of course.”

Granholm signed Michigan’s “stand your ground” bill into law in 2006.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker seems to agree that Republicans are to blame. She told The Daily Caller on Thursday that it is “conservative, right-wing policies that are to blame” for Trayvon Martin‘s death.

Also on Thursday, a group of about 100 protesters representing ColorOfChange, People For the American Way, and the AFL-CIO and SEIU labor unions demonstrated in front of the Washington, D.C. offices of the American Legislative Exchange Council. The activists claimed that conservative policymaking, assisted by the legislative organization, led to the Martin shooting.

Their demands included an “immediate cessation of ‘Kill at Will’ legislative advocacy.”

Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, an Hispanic neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Fla. The  police department’s decision to not arrest Zimmerman has caused an uproar in Florida and across the country.

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