Cruz defends ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws

Updated

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A Senate panel on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing yesterday on “Stand Your Ground” laws, and though both sides agreed in advance that legislative remedies are unlikely, the discussion was intended to shine a light on the consequences posed by these state measures. The hearing had been scheduled for last month, but was delayed due to the mass-murder at the Washington Navy Yard.

As expected, the Senate subcommittee heard testimony from Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who argued that Stand Your Ground “does not work.” It led Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to lower his voice, appear compassionate, and tell Fulton he understands her grief, “but there are other players that are seeking to do a great deal more based on what happened that Florida night.”
 
As Tim Murphy reported, Cruz’s main goal seemed to be arguing that Stand Your Ground laws “benefit black people if you hold the data up to the light and squint a little.”
And those who would say otherwise are using race as a cudgel to force through their anti-gun agenda. “With whom do we stand?” Cruz asked. “I for one believe we should stand for the innocent against aggressors.”
 
Cruz, who threatened a filibuster to block gun control legislation in the Senate last spring, argued that Stand Your Ground laws actually help black people, because black defendants are more likely to have a killing ruled justifiable by a jury.
While Democrats invited Sybrina Fulton as a witness, Cruz relied on support from pro-gun researcher John Lott. Yes, that John Lott.
 
As for whether the evidence bolsters Cruz’s argument about Stand Your Ground benefiting people of color, there’s ample evidence to the contrary.
 
That said, as this entire year has helped demonstrate, facts don’t hold much sway in the broader debate.
 

Gun Policy, Stand Your Ground and Ted Cruz

Cruz defends 'Stand Your Ground' laws

Updated