Moms Demand Action Members to attend in Support of Rollback of Dangerous Stand Your Ground Laws in More than 20 States
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America members will attend tomorrow’s Congressional hearings on Stand Your Ground laws. The hearing will include testimony from Lucy McBath, a national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action who lost her 17-year-old son Jordan Davis to gun violence in 2012.
McBath’s son, Jordan Davis, was 17 when he was shot and killed by Michael David Dunn, a registered gun owner, in a Jacksonville parking lot. Dunn claimed he fired eight or nine bullets at Jordan and his friends in self-defense following a verbal exchange with the boys, and he will reportedly be using a Stand Your Ground defense when he goes to trial on first-degree murder and attempted murder charges early in 2014. Jordan and his friends were unarmed inside their vehicle when Dunn opened fire.
“In light of the current gun culture, America finds itself hostage to the misuse of our nations’ Stand Your Ground laws. If these laws are not either amended or repealed I am afraid that we as a ‘civilized’ nation will self-destruct using these laws to justify senseless violence,” said McBath. “Using violence under the SYG laws as a means of conflict resolution is deplorable and our generations to come will suffer for it.”
McBath is one of several witnesses, including Trayvon Martin’s mother Sabrina Fulton, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, which is holding a hearing titled “‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force.” Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois is leading the hearing, which is meant to examine the gun lobby’s influence in creating and promoting Stand Your Ground laws, whether these laws have changed the legal definition of self-defense or encouraged unnecessary shooting confrontations, and whether these laws encourage racial profiling.
A recent Texas A&M study analyzed 20 states with Stand Your Ground laws, including Florida, and found that the laws do not deter violent crime. In fact, there is a clear increase in homicides in those states, resulting in up to 700 more shooting deaths nationwide each year. Stand Your Ground laws also disproportionately affect communities of color. According to an Urban Institute study, when white shooters kill black victims, 34 percent of the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable, while only 3 percent of deaths are ruled justifiable when the shooter is black and the victim is white.
“Stand Your Ground laws, which give everyday citizens more leeway to shoot than the U.S. military gives to our soldiers in war zones, endanger our children, families and communities,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “These laws grow even more dangerous when coupled with some states’ permissive open and concealed carry policies that empower untrained, average citizens to carry a gun, and turn everyday conflicts into deadly tragedies.”