George Zimmerman has yet to be arrested in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teen. At this time, details of the precise altercation are still unclear. But, Zimmerman has been protected under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Florida is not alone in this legislation. Right now, a total of 22 states give citizens the right to stand your ground in self-defense.
“There is nothing in the ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law that authorizes anyone to pursue and confront. It’s strictly a self-defense bill,” Republican Florida state Rep. Dennis Baxley, one of the original co-sponsors of the bill, told NBC news. “If you’re attacked you have the right to fight back, but it certainly doesn’t authorize anyone to confront like this.”
Section Three of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law reads, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Arthur Hayhoe, director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, called the law “a right to commit murder.”