A Senate subcommittee led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) held a hearing on controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, state laws that remove one’s “duty to retreat” and allow one to use force, including deadly force, in a public place if one reasonably fears for his/her life.
In his opening remarks, Durbin expressed a need for the 22 states that have passed these expanded self-defense laws to “carefully reconsider” them over fears that they endanger public safety.
“Whatever the motivations were behind the passage of these laws, it is clear that these laws often go too far in encouraging confrontations to escalate into deadly violence,” Durbin said at the hearing. “They are resulting in unnecessary tragedies and they are diminishing accountability under the justice system.”
“These stand-your-ground laws have led to increases in homicides and firearms injuries,” he continued. “These stand-your-ground laws have allowed shooters to walk free in shocking situations.”
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen who was fatally shot during a physical altercation with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, testified at the hearing. She argued that the law needs to be changed.
“[Trayvon] was simply going to get a drink and some candy. That tells me right there his mentality. That tells me that he was not going to get cigarettes or bullets or condoms or other items of that nature,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Trayvon was minding his own business.”