'Stand Your Ground' Law Repeal Proposed - KMSP-TV

'Stand Your Ground' Law Repeal Proposed

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It's called the "Stand Your Ground" law. More than a dozen Michigan lawmakers want to get rid of it. They're afraid that the current law will lead to vigilante justice.

More than 24 states, including Michigan, have some version of the "Stand Your Ground" law. Michigan's went into effect on October 1, 2006. Now, these politicians say they're not aware as of yet that this law has lead to any unnecessary violence, but they want to prevent it from happening.

The streets of Detroit are described by some residents as the wild, wild west. Detroit Police are overwhelmed responding to carjackings, robberies and shootings. More and more citizens are becoming fed up and arming themselves.

"The violence and the crime is rampant," said state representative Tim Bledsoe, a democrat.

In his own words, Bledsoe admits crime is rampant, yet in House Bill 5644, the democrat is proposing changing Michigan's version of what is commonly known as the "Stand Your Ground" law.

"The 'Stand Your Ground' law by its very name tends to encourage and promote vigilante violence."

Sparking the push to repeal the law is the incident in Florida where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed after being confronted by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

"This is not about criminal activity and defending yourself against criminal activity so much as to try to put a presumption on citizens that if they're in this kind of confrontation in a public place, the presumption should be that they would retreat rather than use deadly force," Bledsoe said.

"2006, you pretty much had a duty to retreat, which meant if I was afraid of you and I was at a gas station pumping gas and you're coming towards me, I had to retreat and run prior to doing anything," said Terry L. Johnson. "That's just not a good law."

He is an attorney and gun supporter. A few years back, the state made changes in the law, which brought in circumstances under which Michigan citizens can use lethal force in self-defense, laws Johnson believes are needed now more than ever.

"When you're in a war zone, you look for some sort of protection, and we're not getting it, unfortunately, through the police because they're so overwhelmed with number one, other calls, and number two, the lack of police that are on the jobs nowadays due to budget cuts."

Bledsoe says this wouldn't take away a person's right to defend themselves from a criminal activity out in public. What it is more designed to do would be to protect citizens. So, law abiding citizens say in the case of road rage, there's an incident, you get in a heated argument, one person pulls out a gun, he says hopefully if this were to pass, it would prevent that from happening.

Also, this would have no effect on what's known as the Castle doctrine, which applies if somebody comes to your house.

The next step is for the bill to go to committee.

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