The controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense laws in Florida and other states are coming under increased attack.
Entertainers Stevie Wonder and Jay Z said they will no longer perform in Florida until the law is repealed.
Last week the mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin issued a call to action against Stand Your Ground in remarks at the National Urban League conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Sybrina Fulton attacked Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws which she said “prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for his awful crime.”
A jury acquitted neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman of all criminal counts in the slaying of the unarmed 17-year-old. Martin was shot and killed during a confrontation with Zimmerman that has sparked a national debate about Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and other states.
At the league’s annual conference, Fulton asked people to “wrap your mind around what has happened.”
“No prom for Trayvon. No high school graduation for Trayvon. No college for Trayvon. No grandkids coming from Trayvon,” she said. “All because of a law, a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime.”
In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict President Barack Obama is questioning whether the laws contribute to peace and security and “order we want to see.”
Obama questioned whether Martin would have been found justified in shooting Zimmerman if he’d been of age and armed.
Some conservatives have called for African-American to embrace Stand Your Ground laws as a response to racism and urban violence. This is a cynical proposal that should not be taken seriously. Are conservatives really arguing that the solution to gun violence is more guns? What would be the state of race relations in this country if there was a sudden surge in African Americans buying guns and ammunition?
While we support the right to self-defense and the constitutional right to own guns, increasing the number of guns on the street is not a solution to crime.
The president offered a more reasonable proposal when he suggested that communities consider in the wake of the verdict, more training for law enforcement on race issues as well as legislation he passed as a state senator in Illinois against racial profiling.
Urgent action is needed to repeal Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and other states.