Rational legislation needed to fix Stand Your Ground law

Oklahoman Published: May 6, 2012

The “Castle Doctrine” that allows the use of deadly force to defend oneself against a home intruder was extended by the Stand Your Ground law, to any other place where a person has a right to be — which is virtually anywhere. First enacted in Florida in 2005, the law was then adopted by some 25 states, including Oklahoma. Since its enactment, the number of “justifiable homicides” in Florida increased fivefold in five years.

As we saw in the recent Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, Florida police didn't arrest Zimmerman at the site of the shooting. The reason for the police's initial inaction is the fact that when a shooter claims self-defense, it's difficult to obtain a conviction in Florida. Widespread public outcry led to more involvement of the authorities. This is a typical example of how a hasty decision, when confronted with real or perceived threat to one's life, can lead to a tragedy. This must stop!

As a rational and mature society, we must enact legislation that protects the legitimate right to use deadly force to preserve one's life and the right of a safe environment for innocent bystanders and unarmed citizens.

The Florida legislature has received requests to reconsider this law in view of unintended fatal incidents. Oklahoma legislators instead are considering expanding the Stand Your Ground law to include churches! I hope we show some restraint instead of further liberalizing an already serious situation.

Raoul Carubelli, Oklahoma City

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