Florida Shooting Renews Public Attention to ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Posted March 23rd, 2012 at 5:15 pm (UTC-5)
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The shooting death of an unarmed teenager in Florida has brought renewed public attention to the “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense, instead of retreating from a confrontation.

Florida is among 21 U.S. states that have such a law.

The Florida measure, passed in 2005, allows the use of deadly force when a person feels his or her life or safety is being threatened. The measure is an extension of the so-called “castle doctrine,” which allows the use of deadly force against burglars or other intruders inside one's home, when the resident feels he or she is in danger.

The man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has not been arrested because he said he was acting in self-defense while patrolling the neighborhood as a watchman. The events of the night of February 26 remain unclear.

City commissioners in Sanford, the Florida town where the shooting occurred, have approved a “no-confidence” measure against the police chief over his department's handling of the case. The chief announced Thursday he was temporarily removing himself from office over growing criticism of the way the investigation was conducted.

The Justice Department and FBI are investigating the shooting.