The traditional presumption in the law—from the advent of the Hebrew Bible through the creation of Roman law, English common law, and American law—has been that if you could spare human life, it was incumbent upon you to do so.
With “Stand Your Ground” (aka “Shoot First”) laws, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its partners in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have turned 3,000 years of jurisprudence on its head. Now you can provoke a fight, and if losing that fight, kill the person you attacked.
The NRA’s laws represent a dangerous and unprecedented escalation in the use of force in the public space, allowing individuals to kill when they merely fear “great bodily harm” (i.e., a fistfight, shoving match, etc.). The concept of responding with proportional force has been obliterated. Additionally, “Stand Your Ground” laws remove the duty to retreat from a conflict in public, allowing individuals to shoot and kill even when they could otherwise walk away safely from an altercation.
Please sign this petition calling on your state legislators to oppose “Stand Your Ground” laws.