It is important to have courage in the face of danger. This is a lesson that we teach our children and one that has been drilled into us by many books, movies, TV shows, and other media. But what happens when you are not facing an external threat but rather your own internal struggle? Does it still take courage to do nothing or does this put you at risk for criminal liability? These are questions that were raised recently in the case of George Zimmerman who was acquitted on charges stemming from his shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The defense argued self-defense under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law which allows people who feel threatened with imminent death or great bodily harm to use deadly force without first trying to back away from the attacker.
The recent verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial has brought up many questions as well as anger and disappointment, especially among those who are outraged that he was acquitted of all charges related to his shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The defense’s self-defense argument under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law caused a lot of controversies.
We will never know who was right in this case, but it brings up a question about the constitutionality of Stand Your Ground Laws such as Florida’s that allow people to use deadly force without first trying to back away from an attacker. There are many arguments on both sides and these laws have been changed recently with great success in some areas while they remain unchanged elsewhere where changes were not seen necessary. The law varies greatly by state and there is no easy answer for whether or not these types of self-defense laws should be made more restrictive or less so across the country – even though most agree that we all need courage when faced with a gun.
It’s our duty to ask questions like those and to do our best to make sure we’re asking the right questions.
What is the Constitution? The word “constitution” comes from a Latin term, meaning something like “form” or “shape.” A constitution is an underlying principle that shapes how we understand and organize our government. This article examines what Constitutions are in order to determine whether stand your ground laws violate them.
This article was written on Tuesday, 28 February 2018 at 12:00 PM EST and will last until Wednesday, 29 September 2028 at 11:59 AM EST. This is where I can add any updates or changes about the writing process after it has been published. As usual, feedback would be appreciated so I know if this format works as well as updates when new articles are posted to the blog.
The Constitution of the United States establishes that laws may not violate rights which are “expressly” granted by them (the Bill of Rights) but also protects unenumerated rights – those things we have a right to do because they are inherent in being human beings who live in society – such as the right to self-defense.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution establishes that “the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The Fifth Amendment prohibits a person from being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process (a court hearing). In District of Columbia v Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have an individual right to own guns for sport and protection. This ruling does not invalidate any state law which regulates who can buy firearms; what kind they can purchase; who cannot sell them; how many he may possess at one time; nor where he has them in his home so long as it is locked away with ammunition separate. It just means those laws are subject to scrutiny by judges before they are enacted.