WASHINGTON — Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, is telling a Senate panel today that states must clarify their “stand your ground” self-defense laws.
The laws, adopted in some form by at least 22 states, generally cancel a person’s duty to retreat in the face of a serious physical threat. But the 2012 shooting of Fulton’s unarmed son, Trayvon Martin, 17, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman this year provided evidence that “stand your ground” laws can be confusing and applied inconsistently, she said.
“By being unclear in when and how it is applied, stand your ground in its current form is far to open to abuse,” Fulton said in prepared testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Democratic-led Senate was holding the hearing even though no congressional action is expected on the state policies. Even in the states, Martin’s killing, Zimmerman’s politically charged acquittal on manslaughter charges and encouragement form the Obama administration seem unlikely to spur changes in “stand your ground” laws. Most states with such laws are conservative and lean toward policies that defend gun owners’ rights.
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