“Stand your ground” is really “Kill at will”

Gun lobbyists and their minions in state legislatures want us to believe that making it legal for  people to shoot others because  they feel threatened should be called “standing your ground.” A better name would be “Kill-At- Will,” a more apt description coined by Media Matters Action Network. And those of us who oppose these dangerous laws–as well as the media– should be using that phrase.

The motivation behind  kill-at-will laws doesn’t come from a strict adherence to the vaunted Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms.” Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia—a self-proclaimed “strict  Constitutionalist”—has said that “the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapons whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

So, where do “kill at will” laws come from? The key players are—no surprise—the National Rifle Association [NRA] and the American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC].  The NRA wrote Florida’s Kill-At-Will law and bankrolled the politicians who pushed it through the legislature, making Florida the first to be a Kill-At-Will state. The NRA has been described as a “lobbying, merchandising and marketing machine that brings in more than $200 million a year.” Since the NRA’s success in getting “Kill At Will” passed in Florida, half of the rest of US states have adopted similar laws—a trend that has been abetted by ALEC, the shadowy organization that’s been working to rewrite state laws on behalf of its corporate and special-interest sponsors like the NRA.

In states with Kill-At-Will laws, the average number of “justifiable homicides” cases per year increased by more than 50% — and tripled in Florida, where the Kill-At-Will law has been invoked as a legal defense in gang fights, neighbor disputes, and road rage.

It’s going to continue to be hard to stop the weapons juggernaut in America. The gun-rights issue has proven itself to be a political winner for the right and an effective political battleground for fundraising—even though the bottom line is better for politicians and the weapons industry than it is for American families. Media Matters Action Network  [whose talking points are reflected in this post] puts it this way: “Kill-At-Will laws put everyone in the line of fire and invite people to shoot to kill. When laws let paranoid strangers gun you or your loved one down, no one is safe.”

 

Gloria Shur Bilchik Gloria Shur Bilchik (481 Posts)

Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of progressive values as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.


  • EpsilonSemi

    For what it’s worth, in my CCW training class (which was mandatory in my state, and in my case taught by an internationally accredited police trainer), above all else, the most important thing they taught me was that the only time which I was to draw and fire my gun was when my life or the lives of my loved ones were in immediate danger, and no other time.

    For example: Being mugged is not a situation where I would draw my firearm, because all the mugger is after is my money/wallet. However, if I was in a situation where someone was aggressively coming at me with a knife or a gun, and I felt that my life was in danger from this person, that is what my concealed weapon is for: to protect myself and my loved ones from that immediate, lethal danger.

    That’s the core of what CCW is supposed to be: to protect yourself and your loved ones in situations where your life/lives are at risk, and it’s used as the last resort; when you have no other options available to protect yourself/your loved ones from being killed.

    Mind you, I don’t particularly support stand-your-ground laws that much. I agree with aspects of the “duty to retreat,” such as the burden of proof being on the defendant to show that they were acting reasonably. Unfortunately, many people take “duty to retreat” to mean “any use of lethal force is not allowed at all under any circumstance,” which I feel is wrong. A person should be able to respond to lethal force with lethal force if they have absolutely no other options.

    That’s what I learned in my CCW training, and the majority of people who have CCW permits in my state have been trained by the instructor who trained me (his group is responsible for the majority of CCW training in my state). It makes me sad, as a responsible gun owner, that people focus on the worst of our group and assume that all of us are as bad as that; that all of us are just waiting for someone to look at us funny to blow their brains out, or are willing to shoot anyone who disagrees with the Second Amendment. We’re not like that; I promise you that no one is more worried about proper training and responsibility than we are, the normal everyday Joes of gun owners who walk/work/live amongst you, who quietly carry a firearm for the worst case scenario, who don’t wave the fact that we’re gun owners in everyone’s faces, who understand how much responsibility it takes to carry a lethal weapon…because it’s us that are punished and vilified when a bad apple makes the news.

  • PlayLoud

    “In states with Kill-At-Will laws, the average number of “justifiable homicides” cases per year increased by more than 50% — and tripled in Florida, where the Kill-At-Will law has been invoked as a legal defense in gang fights, neighbor disputes, and road rage.”

    I’m ok with justified homicides. The alternative to justified homicides, is unjustified homicides. If you are being attacked, and your life is in danger, you would rather just take your chances? The police will not be there to help you. Oh, sure, they will respond after the fact. They will take a picture of your corpse for their murder investigation. Does that give you comfort?

    “Most” people who carry a firearm (I can’t here in California) are not looking for trouble. It’s more like wearing a seat belt. You can go an entire lifetime and not need one, but if that fateful day comes, you will be glad it’s there.

    Since you are for “progressive” (liberal) values, I am assuming you are
    Pro-Choice. Aren’t Pro-Choice laws really Kill-At-Will laws? I think we should call now refer to pro-choice as kill-at-will. It’s more accurate.