Democrats Rage Over New Self Defense Bill

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Republicans Representative Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Senator Markwayne Mullin (Okla.) introduced a national “stand your ground” bill on Thursday (May 4) as several similar state laws are under review following several high-profile shootings.

The legislation enables people to use deadly force if they “reasonably” believe it is required to avoid the “imminent death or great bodily harm” of themselves or others or if using deadly force would “prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

In a statement, Gaetz declared that “Every American” has a “right to defend themselves and their loved ones” against an attacker.

The Florida Republican elucidated that the threat of death should give Americans the right to return fire and save themselves.

He declared it “time to reaffirm” the contents of the U.S. Constitution and the hearts of the American people.

Gaetz added that the “legal duty of retreat” should be abolished everywhere.

The law Gaetz and Mullin are attempting to introduce on a federal level has faced backlash after several people were shot and one killed last month for making mistakes.

Ralph Karl, a black Kansas City teenager, accidentally went to the wrong house after his parents requested he picks up his younger twin brothers. Karl was shot twice by the white homeowner.

The homeowner, 84-year-old Andrew Lester, claimed in his initial statement to police that he had been “scared to death” by the teenager.

Two days after Karl was shot, 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis was fatally shot in upstate New York when she pulled into the wrong driveway.

A week later, two Texas cheerleaders were shot and injured after they accidentally got into the wrong car at a grocery store parking lot.

These incidents” place spotlight on the thirty states that include Missouri and Texas, where there are versions of “Stand your ground” laws.