Tag: Senate panel hearings on Stand Your Ground laws

Mother of Trayvon Martin Tells Senate Panel “Stand Your Ground” Laws Do Not Work and Should be Changed

FILE - In this July 26, 2003 file photo, Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, speaks during the National Urban League's annual conference in Philadelphia. Fulton is expected to tell a Senate panel Tuesday that states must clarify their "stand your ground" self-defense laws. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, told a Senate panel Tuesday that states must clarify their ‘stand your ground’ self-defense laws after the man who fatally shot her son was acquitted of manslaughter. (Matt Rourke/AP)

WASHINGTON — The mother of Travyon Martin, the Florida teen killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, told a Senate panel today that stand your ground self-defense laws should be changed.  Sybrina Fulton offered the tragic case of her son as Exhibit A of why she said such laws do not work.  “He was simply going to the store to get snacks, nothing more, nothing less,” Fulton said of her son, who was shot dead by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., in early 2012.

“He was minding his own business, he was not looking for any kind of trouble, he was not committing any kind of crime.”  She added, “The person who shot and killed my son is walking the streets today. … The Law is not working.”  Martin’s killing ignited a national debate about stand your ground laws and racial profiling. The debate grew even louder after Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.  More than two dozen states have some version of stand your ground laws, which let individuals use lethal force instead of retreating if they feel threatened with death or serious injury in public by another person.

Senate Democrats convened the hearing, which triggered a clash with Republicans on the Judiciary subcommittee who favor stand your ground laws.  Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.) cited research that suggests about 600 homicides a year can be traced to such laws, with no apparent impact on overall crime deterrence.  His view that such laws have done little else but accentuate a “shoot first” mentality among citizens was quickly disputed by the firebrand freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).