Michigan "Stand Your Ground" Referendum (2016)

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The Michigan "Stand Your Ground" Referendum may appear on the November 8, 2016 ballot in Michigan as an indirect initiated state statute. The measure, upon voter approval, would overturn Public Act 309 of 2006, also known as "Stand Your Ground" and the "Self-Defense Act," a law which provided for the use of deadly force by a defending individual when he or she "honestly and reasonably believes" that deadly force is necessary to prevent "imminent death or imminent great bodily harm" to oneself or another or to prevent imminent sexual assault to oneself or another.[1][2]


On March 11, 2014, Rev. Charles Williams II of the National Action Network said, "We're going to go to every community across the state of Michigan and we're going to get 'stand your ground' repealed right here in Michigan. Michigan will be the first state that will get rid of this ugly law that allows people to go around shooting each other. This is not the wild wild west."[2]


  • Benjamin Crump, lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s family[3]


  • Rev. Charles Williams II cited the death of Renisha McBride on November 2, 2013 as evidence in supporting the repeal. McBride was an unarmed 19-year old who was shot and killed through a locked screen door in Dearborn Heights following a car accident. Theodore Wafer, the homeowner and shooter, claimed that McBride was slamming his door violently and that he feared for his life and is therefore innocent due to provisions in Public Act 309.[2][4]



  • Sen. Rick Jones (R-24) said the law is not the same as the one in Florida, a law which has drawn great media attention following the death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012. He argued, "You really have to prove, in Michigan, that you're about to die or be raped. I understand why they're very upset with what happened to Trayvon Martin. I don't believe that was appropriate, but it doesn't have anything to do with Michigan law."[2]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Michigan

Michigan's signature requirements are tied to the total number of votes cast for the office of governor at the last election. For statutes, signatures equaling 8 percent of this total are required. Since the measure is an indirect initiated state statute, the legislature will have the opportunity to approve or disapprove the measure if proponents submit enough signatures. Legislators would have 40 days to do so following signature certification. If they vote down the measure or do nothing, it would go on the November general election ballot.

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