Ariz. Lawmakers Divided On ?Stand Your Ground? Law

July 23, 2013

Some state lawmakers say they're willing to take another look at Arizona's 'stand your ground law' in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting and trial in Florida, but there's deep division over whether any changes are needed. The law is an extension of statutes that say you can use deadly physical force, if necessary, in self defense. It says if you are legally in a place, you have no duty to first attempt to retreat. Republican Representative Eddie Farnsworth, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, defends people's right to defend themselves.

“That's a God-given right,” Farnsworth said. “There's nothing controversial about that except by those people who would believe that there ought to be some kind of gun control and we shouldn't be able to defend ourselves. I just think that's ridiculous.”

Arizona is one of nearly two dozen states with 'stand your ground' laws.  Democratic Representative Steve Gallardo, who acknowledges the 'stand your ground' law was not raised as a defense by George Zimmerman, worries that more people know about the provision and will try to use it.

“Where normally they may have turned around and walked away now are going to say, 'No, I'm going to turn around and I'm going to stand my ground and I'm going to make sure that no one's going to push me around,’” Gallardo said.

Lawmakers are not due to return to the Capitol until January.

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