Huffpost Politics

Michael Bloomberg: George Zimmerman Verdict Shows 'Shoot-First' Laws Must Go

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a statement Sunday reacting to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, arguing that the trial illustrates why "Stand Your Ground" laws like those in Florida should be rolled back.

"Sadly, all the facts in this tragic case will probably never be known. But one fact has long been crystal clear: 'shoot first' laws like those in Florida can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns," Bloomberg said in the statement. "Such laws -- drafted by gun lobby extremists in Washington -- encourage deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue 'justifiable homicide' later."

"Stand Your Ground" laws, characterized by critics as "shoot-first" measures, are currently in place in 24 states. The measures allow for the use of deadly force in self-defense, without requiring an individual to first attempt to retreat. As The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel reported in May, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is investigating whether these laws have a racial bias.

Bloomberg, a strong advocate for gun control measures, took on Stand Your Ground laws last year in the wake of Martin's death.

"I go to states with Stand Your Ground laws. My daughters go to states with Stand Your Ground laws," he said in 2012. "This is a part of America and I think these kinds of laws that lead to vigilantism are just not appropriate."

In April, Zimmerman waived his pretrial right to seek immunity under Florida's Stand Your Ground law. His attorneys instead argued that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.

Click here to read more on the Zimmerman verdict.

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