Alabama lawmakers pledge renewed look at “stand your ground” laws in 2014

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July 29, 2013

Alabama

By Nick Katers

MONTGOMERY, Alabama: A trio of Democratic legislators in Alabama has promised bills in 2014 to repeal or amend the state’s “stand your ground” law. The law protecting an individual’s right to self-defense faces scrutiny after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges in Florida. Zimmerman was accused of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin and “stand your ground” protections came under scrutiny though defense attorneys did not invoke the law.[1] Alabama passed its version of the law in 2006, joining a group of 21 states that have adopted “stand your ground” laws.[2]

Representative Alvin Holmes (D) and Senator Hank Sanders (D) have promised to propose repeals of the law during the next legislative session. “There will be an effort in the Legislature to repeal it, it needs to be repealed,” said Sanders during a press conference.[2] Representative Merika Coleman-Evans (D) will propose a “Trayvon Martin” amendment to the existing bill that negates “stand your ground” provisions when a victim actively pursues an assailant.[3] Both houses of the Alabama State Legislature are held by Republican majorities.

Governor Robert Bentley supported the law when he was a legislator but defers to the judgment of the current Legislature. “I’m going to leave that up to the Legislature if they feel any changes need to be made,” said Bentley.[3] Opposition to the proposed changes to the “stand your ground” law has already emerged from Republican legislators like Senator Bryan Taylor. “We’ve got to make sure we protect law-abiding citizens’ rights to protect themselves,” argued Taylor.[3]


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