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Targeting Stand Your Ground

Anti-gun groups target stand your ground laws in the wake of Zimmerman acquittal. This narrative was practically tailor made for them. Of course, it’s complete hogwash that this case hinged on Stand Your Ground at all, such that they have to reach for minor changes in jury instructions to have any case at all. But really, the truth doesn’t matter. The narrative was perfect.

What the gun control groups have achieved is raising the perception of cost for passing these laws, and in politics, perception matters a lot more than reality. Previously, these had been passed fairly easily and with wide margins. Why?

  • It was an easy way to please a constituency perceieved as important.
  • It materially did not alter self-defense laws all that much. Most cases don’t rise or fall on a duty to retreat.
  • The civil immunities are hard to argue against.
  • States that traditionally were SYG states historically, didn’t seem to have too much trouble prosecuting actual or attempted cases of murder and manslaughter.
  • There was little downside, short of opposition from Attorneys General, who don’t like the idea of limiting their discretion and making it harder for them to win marginal cases.

Now every lawmakers will be wondering if their names will be all over the papers as having voted for the next Zimmerman acquittal. The media is happy to drive false narratives that hurt us, and the Zimmerman case was also gift wrapped for the Obama Administration and his re-election. The case may have been the perfect storm for the left and their media allies, but every lawmaker will be wondering if it could happen again. Despite the fact that it takes dishonesty, the anti-gun folks played this one well, and it will hurt us going forward.

20 Responses to “Targeting Stand Your Ground”

  1. McThag says:

    Not to mention that if it were a SYG case then it would not have gone to trial at all.

  2. Carl from Chicago says:

    But we all know that anti-rights campaigns don’t always logically flow from the events that fuel them. The Sandy Hook killings in no way hinged on private gun sales, yet those murders were the impetus for banning private intrastate transfers of arms.

    • The Jack says:

      To which they’re now openly and proudly stating
      http://www.brookings.edu/research/essays/2013/sandy-hook-promise-gun-safety

      “While continuing to pursue a long-range goal of limiting magazine size, they decided to focus in the near-term on legislation that could have an immediate impact on gun violence: closing the gun show and Internet loopholes by requiring that all such sales go through FFLs, who can and must run background checks. Perhaps what is most remarkable about their decision is that they were committing themselves to the passage of gun safety laws that had no actual bearing on the crime that had torn apart their own lives. The guns Adam Lanza used in his assault had been stolen from his mother, his first victim, and Nancy Lanza had been in lawful possession of those firearms—she passed background checks for their purchase and registered them (as is required in Connecticut). The families knew that legislation regulating the sales of weapons at gun shows or over the Internet would have done nothing to save their children.”

      Openly admiting that 1) The “common sense” laws they’re advocating “would have done nothing to save their children”. 2) They’re advocating a slippery slope where these first laws will pave the way for later laws. 3) They’re openly using their victim status to get their way.
      The essayist calls this “public-spirited thinking”

  3. Stephen says:

    The most ironic thing … it was actually Trayvon who would have benefited from Stand Your Ground if he had prevailed or at least survived the fight. He’s the one that chose to confront the man following him (at least if we believe the same version of the story that the jury did).

    It is interesting, though … I think you can argue that if all the evidence were the same, the only difference being that Trayvon prevailed in the fight and killed Zimmerman and then at least decently kept his story together … he probably would have never been charged and/or found not guilty as well.

    When two men cross paths in the dark, neither of them committing a crime (i.e. checking out a stranger in the neighborhood is not crime/walking home is no crime) and one of them ends up dead and there are no eyewitnesses as to how the fight started — I think it’d be hard to get a conviction against either one. With or without SYG.

    Fortunately these types of occurrences are exceedingly rare. But if the Dems can get some traction for their programs out of it, even if it causes strife and more innocent people to die, I predict they’ll not let this crisis go to waste.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      What if Trayvon had been carrying the slim jim (not the meat snack; the burglary tool) found near his body?

      • Stephen says:

        I doubt he would have still been carrying it when the police arrived. But in any case … from my recent lawyer degree I’ve received on the internet and watching pundits on this case … if the burden of proof is on the prosecution once the defendant claims “Self Defense” and the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt … I still think the defense wins if charges are even filed. Again … assuming Martin has at least a half ways decent story that fits the evidence. i.e.

        “He called me over to him. I didn’t really care, I was like ‘wassup?’ Then he punched me, so I stood my ground and took him down. While I was defending myself, sitting on his chest and stopping him from further aggression while he screamed for help, he drew his gun. I took it away from him, but fearing he was reaching for another gun I had to fire.'”

        Yeah — I think that would work. Especially if he properly worked out his story with his girlfriend that he had on the phone. Can’t say for sure, of course, as even though I read lots of blogs my second sight that allows me to perfectly see alternate histories isn’t fully developed ;-).

  4. TS says:

    And here I thought the case being fully vetted in a high profile trial would clear up misconceptions. Silly me.

  5. Ken says:

    Are you predicting victory for the anti-gun fanatics, then?

    • Sebastian says:

      I’m predicting it’s going to be harder getting SYG or Castle Doctrine changes made going forward.

      • Rob Crawford says:

        I disagree. I don’t think it’ll mean anything.

      • TS says:

        I agree. A purple state that doesn’t already have SYG but was likely to get it probably won’t now. I doubt any state will see it repealed though.

        • Rob Crawford says:

          I would be shocked if Ohio laws don’t get better over the next few years. Either SYG or the removal of the notification requirement.

      • Charles Raker says:

        It’s going to be harder until after the 2014 elections. Their short term goal is to boost minority and far left turnout to something near ‘Presidential Election’ year levels. I noticed last Fall that about in about 20-30 Houses races won by Republicans, the losing Democrat got more votes than the winning Republican in 2010. Minority voters and younger voters tend to have poor turnout in primaries and off-year elections. Opposition to SYG won of the tools to be used to help Obama put Pelosi beack in control of the House.

      • Stephen says:

        It all comes down to … does this make it more dangerous politically to support SYG with it’s current supporters, or does it just inflame those already against it. You’re assuming the former, but the recent polls I’m seeing seem to point to the latter. Just like with most of the gun control pushed for after Newtown.

        Time will tell. I tend to think it will make it harder for several years. Here in Colorado we had just gotten full support for shall-issue CCW in 1999 when Columbine happened — the deals had all been worked out and passage of them was a gimme. All those bills got canceled after the mass murder, even though they had nothing to do with Columbine, and it was 3 years until we got back the support to do it for real. But we did get it eventually, as once again Columbine didn’t really change the minds of the supporters/opponents of CCW.

        • HappyWarrior6 says:

          Excellent point. Political expediency, how it “looks and smells” is more important to politicians. The cause of gun control has been further set in stone for what it is from this: a melodramatic, opportunistic push to slander 2A supporters because guns are just all around bad. If it doesn’t go their way they wine about the influence of the NRA. I fully expect the antis to once again try to pin the Zimmerman case on the influence of the NRA.

  6. Andy B. says:

    I will always stipulate that my first instincts are to be a contrarion, so maybe that’s all this amounted to, BUT:

    I’ve mentioned before in these pages that not long after SYG/Castle Doctrine came along, I began to smell a rat about it, that I have never been able to identify. Not in the concept, per se, but in how it was being being legislated. It was passing too easily (IMO) in too many states, while being pushed by entities who I did not believe had any ideological interest in it, beyond possibly being a useful issue for popularizing themselves with (mainly) gun rights advocates as a constituency. (Actually it is not a “gun rights” issue at all, if you believe that a gun is only one of many tools for self-defense; but we were the main avenue for its promotion.)

    Anyway — while I still haven’t refined my paranoia to the point of crafting a conspiracy scenario to go with it, I can’t help wondering if what we are seeing right now as fallout from the Zimmerman trial, isn’t at least some droppings from the rat I’ve always smelled. Maybe some elements KNEW there was going to be a Zimmerman case or two, and intended to make hay from their occurrences and their outcomes, so encouraged them, and/or allowed them to pass with only token resistance.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Wasn’t this one of the issues that ALEC was travelling with us on until the left successfully drove a wedge between them and us?

      • Andy B. says:

        Yes, it was possibly the most influential group with the issue, not including the gun rights movement, which probably supplied the needed grassroots impetus. I would be interested in knowing how closely the legislation in each of the 33 SYG/CD states adheres to ALEC’s model legislation. In PA, the state rep that introduced Castle Doctrine is one of, if not THE, principal ALEC participants in the state.

        I have probably recited before, that when CD was first (?) introduced here in PA, something that caught my eye was that in several places in it, it emphasized “in the workplace” as protected safe ground where you could “stand your ground.” I wondered, was that a poison pill inserted to make it unpalatable to unions, or was it a corporate insertion intended to provide additional legal protection to strike-breakers? In any case, I think the words “in the workplace,” or anything similar (?) were totally removed from the version that was passed, in the following session. When I see a change in legislation, that is not discussed openly in public — and I’m not aware that was — I become suspicious.

  7. Heather from AK says:

    Alaska passed stand your ground this year amongst the rest of the hubbub.

    I suspect we’ll see more “two americas” unfolding. States controlled by the left will erode self defense rights. States which are friendly to gun rights and individual liberty in general will sustain or bolster self-defense laws.

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