There has been a rising concern over the correlation between what is known as “stand your ground” laws across the country and the increase in the number of justifiable-homicide cases over the past few years. The “stand your ground” law is the same type of legislation that arguably prevented authorities from initially arresting George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who is responsible for killing 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in February of this year. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, who was unarmed at the time, after the two had an altercation, the details of which are in the midst of being investigated and ascertained by federal and local authorities. Zimmerman was recently indicted on charges of second-degree murder for the death of Martin.
According to authorities, the expansion of one’s fundamental right to defend their home, to a more general right to meet force with force if a person feels endangered, began in Florida in 2005. The change in Florida law has spread to more than 30 other states since that time. Criticism about the legislation has been stirred recently in the wake of Martin’s death. Many argue that the legislation makes it harder to convict people who have committed murder, as many murderers will claim self-defense and prosecutors will have to prove that the person is lying. Others argue that there is nothing wrong with “stand your ground” laws, and that Martin’s death was an isolated unfortunate incident.
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