Even as outrage continues to build both nationally and locally in the wake of Trayvon Martin's slaying, an Illinois lawmaker continues to push for a similar version of the law that has thus far prevented Martin's killer from being arrested or charged in the case.
An Illinois "Stand Your Ground" bill is expected to be reintroduced in the statehouse despite a previous attempt -- House Bill 5681 -- failing last month.
State Rep. Richard Morthland (R-Cordova) explained to CBS Chicago that he will aim to attach the proposal to concealed carry legislation going forward. Illinois is the only U.S. state that currently bans concealed weapons, while some 29 states do not currently have "Stand Your Ground"-esque laws.
"If we do move forward with conceal carry and stand your ground legislation, at least Illinois is doing it with their eyes wide open," Morthland told CBS.
Morthland penned an op-ed in defense of "Stand Your Ground" proposals for U.S. News, published Tuesday. The downstate Republican called such laws "good and appropriate" in that they "affirm the right of self-defense." Morthland continued:
"Stand your ground" laws do not exist to allow ordinary citizens to live out Dirty Harry fantasies. Nor are they in place to return us to the O.K. Corral. Rather, states are turning to these measures to uphold the principle that our laws must protect the innocent over the criminal, the peace-loving over the violent, and the law-keeper over the law-breaker.
Of Martin's slaying, Morthland said "it is a tragedy anytime a young life is cut short, particularly by gun violence" but added that "we are not yet fully familiar with the facts of the case, but the facts that surround 'stand your ground' laws are clear. ... [I]t is also possible for human actions to be simultaneously tragic, regrettable, undesirable, and fully appropriate to their exact situations."
As the Daily Herald notes, Florida's law allows someone who is attacked to resist that attack with potentially deadly force. Under current Illinois law, individuals may resist with potentially deadly force only if they are attacked with deadly force.
"You don't have the tools to resist," Richard Pearson, Illinois State Rifle Association director, told the Herald of the state's current gun laws.
Last week, Morthland explained that he supports "the lawfulness of using very strong force, if necessary deadly force, in self defense when you're off your property," essentially extending the state's "Castle Law" allowing deadly force in the name of self-defense outside of one's own home.
Don Jackson, president of the Peoria NAACP chapter, told CINewsNow.com that he believed the approval of either concealed carry or "Stand Your Ground" legislation in Illinois would empower "dangerous people" to "carry weapons that can kill people."
Former Florida state Rep. Durell Peaden (R-Crestview) previously commented that he believed George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin, should not be protected under the law he crafted. Zimmerman, Peaden contended, lost his self-defense claim when he told a 911 operator, "I'm following him."
Check out photos of last weekend's Trayvon Martin marches in Chicago:
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