Zimmerman Verdict Renews Focus On ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

Source: Maggie Clark / USA Today

The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., raised fresh discussion of “stand your ground” laws.

The case centered around whether Zimmerman acted in self defense and drew national attention to Florida’s law, which allows people to defend themselves with force if they feel threatened in their home, business, car, or a place where they “have a legal right to be.” At least 21 states have a similar law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

While Zimmerman did not ultimately use the “stand your ground” defense in his case, Sanford police did not arrest him until almost two months after the shooting because of the Florida stand your ground rules that require police to have specific evidence to refute a self defense claim in order to arrest someone claiming self defense.

That provision of the law “does a disservice to Floridians because it’s so vague,” said Florida Sen. Dwight Bullard, a Democrat, in an interview Sunday with CBS Miami.

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  • Laws Should Protect Us

    This is not accurate. He did invoke “Stand Your Ground” and the law was, in fact, quoted in the jury instructions.