The Summit: Stand Your Ground Laws May be Fatally Flawed

Picture this: someone is walking down the street and they sense a ‘’suspicious’’ person following them, or so they believe. So, the person pulls out a deadly weapon (a gun, knife, etc.) and fatally wounds the other person. In Florida and other states that have a similar law, this is considered self-defense because you are ‘’standing your ground.’’

There is nothing wrong with protecting yourself, but claiming self-defense even when it’s not is wrong. So, what exactly is the ‘’Stand Your Ground’’ law?  A stand-your-ground law states that a person may use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. In some cases, a person may use deadly force in public areas without a duty to retreat. This law is not just effective in Florida, either.  Other states with a similar law are Montana, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.

The problem with a ‘’shoot-first’’ kind of law is that anyone can claim that they were acting in self-defense even if the accused did not have a weapon on them.  Of course, a prime example is the Trayvon Martin case. The only ‘’weapon’’ he had on him was a bag of skittles and ice tea. Not to jump to conclusions or choose sides, but George Zimmerman (the guy who shot Trayvon Martin) was the only one with a gun.  Is this really self-defense? This means that if someone is getting beat by in a fight by a weaponless person, they could pull out a gun and shoot because they can.  Pulling out a weapon because you are losing a fight should not be categorized as self-defense.

 There is nothing wrong with a self-defense law; after all there is a right-to-bear-arms amendment. However, this stand your ground law is flawed because it seems as if anyone can claim they feel ‘’threatened.’’ This person can murder someone and may not even be questioned for it.  There are supposed to be certain rules and regulations to claiming self-defense and the stand your ground law throws all of them out the window.  I am not the only who disagrees with this type of self-defense law ether.

 ‘’I think that it can be dangerous because there can be people who use it inappropriately,” said Mays literature teacher Lillian Byrd.  

Added Mays senior Jekeva Nichols, ‘’Its very unfair.” 

 Whether or not people are for the law or against it, people should not be able to just claim self-defense anytime they feel like it. People should not be able to kill someone anytime they feel ‘’threatened’’ either, especially if there are not witnesses or the other person does not have any weapon on them. 

Self-defense is always understandable, but I believe some people abuse this right.