Do a quick search for “Stand Your Ground” on the National Rifle Association’s website and the first video result features the story of a Florida man exonerated of murder charges in January 2012 under the State’s “Stand Your Ground” law. That video’s segment is titled “Hero of the Day.”
The NRA lobbied for “Stand Your Ground” in the past and has yet to comment on the controversy surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a case in which Florida’s version of the law could play a pivotal role if it ever goes to trial.
The pro-gun group championed the passage of the original law in Florida back in 2004 and lobbied to pass similar legislation in other states, according to the Center for Public Integrity. In light of the recent controversy, the NRA has stalled its lobbying efforts in to pass the law in Alaska, according to Bloomberg News.
“Stand Your Ground” laws state that a person can use lethal force if that person feels at all threatened. Versions of the law have been passed in 25 states, but Florida’s is considered to be the most aggressive.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has convened a task force to examine the state’s law, and Congressional Democrats have expressed great concern with the statute.
No mainstream Republican groups or pro-gun groups have spoken out to defend the law since the fatal shooting of the unarmed teen by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, although concerns have been expressed on many conservative blogs that the controversy will lead to an attack on the rights of gun owners.
A Wall Street Journal analysis today found that killings classified as self-defense doubled from 2000 to 2010, although the Journal also points out that there haven’t been extensive studies done on the “Stand Your Ground” law so it is not clear whether those laws are responsible for the increase in self-defense killings.