There are few laws as controversial–and as poorly understood–as Stand Your Ground laws. While a number of states have these on the books, the media, politicians, and activists continue to misrepresent them to the American public.
Then, to muddy the waters a bit, a lot of states don’t have them, meaning folks there have a duty to retreat before using lethal force to protect themselves–which a prosecutor gets to determine when they’re not knee-deep in a life-threatening situation.
At least, that’s what it is now, but a couple of Republican lawmakers want to change that for everyone.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) plan to introduce a national “stand your ground” bill Thursday, as several similar state laws face scrutiny amid a series of high-profile shootings.
The legislation would allow people to use deadly force if they “reasonably” believe it is necessary to “prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” to themselves or others, or to “prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
“Every American has the right to defend themselves and their loved ones from an attacker,” Gaetz said in a statement. “If someone tries to kill you, you should have the right to return fire and preserve your life.”
“It’s time to reaffirm in law what exists in our Constitution and in the hearts of our fellow Americans,” he added. “We must abolish the legal duty of retreat everywhere.”
Such laws have faced pushback after several people last month were shot, and one was killed, after accidentally approaching the wrong house or car.
However, it should be noted that none of those people who wrongly shot at other people were absolved from any repercussions for their actions. Most had no reasonable fear for their lives and so face charges stemming from that action.
Now, with that said, let’s be real here. I love this bill, but it’s not likely to go anywhere.
With California Sen. Dianne Feinstein out of action, there’s still a 50-49 advantage in the Senate for Democrats. Even if one or two Democrats side with Republicans, there’s still more than enough of them to filibuster the bill.
Yet, for the sake of argument, let’s say the House passes its version and the Senate actually passes it as well. Does anyone really think President Joe Biden is going to sign it?
Of course not.
As such, this is little more than grandstanding. This is “here, look at me” from Republicans who want to campaign as being pro-gun during their next campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it happen, but the test for me is to see what these guys do when Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House.
A national Stand Your Ground law would be great. It would help countless people defend themselves without fear of prosecution because they didn’t realize there was some avenue of escape they weren’t aware of. I want to see this become law.
But we all know it won’t right now.