Former President Bill Clinton called for a "reappraisal" of Florida's Stand Your Ground law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, during an interview with ABC News.
"I think the law is going to create real problems because anyone can -- anyone who doesn’t have a criminal background, anyone not prohibited by the Brady Bill and caught by the checks -- can basically be a part of a neighborhood watch where they have a concealed weapon whether they had proper law enforcement training or not. And whether they’ve had any experience in conflict situations with people or not," said Clinton.
"So I hope this will lead to a reappraisal of the Stand Your Ground laws," he added.
The Stand Your Ground law allows people who feel threatened to use deadly force in self-defense and says they have no duty to retreat. The law has been at the center of the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African-American youth. Sanford, Fla. police declined to charge the admitted shooter, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, 28, because of a lack of evidence to refute his self-defense claims.
Supporters of the law passed in 2005 have said that it wouldn't apply in Zimmerman's case. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who signed the law, said that the law shouldn't apply in the case since Zimmerman, according to a 911 call, followed Martin despite instructions from police not to. Florida is among 21 states with such laws. According to Florida law enforcement statistics, the number of justified killings per year rose from an average of 13 in 2000-2005 to an average of 36 from 2006-2010.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has appointed special prosecutor Angela Corey to decide whether to charge Zimmerman.
Clinton called the death of Martin a "terrible loss" and said he hoped justice will be done. "Whatever the facts were -- all these people trying to jump on him and talking about some mistake he made in his life -- that’s irrelevant because [of an] unarmed person who was killed on the street by a gun," he said.
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