The Wall Street Journal reports that efforts to pass laws giving ordinary citizens greater leeway to use lethal force to defend themselves have stalled in two states following the killing of an unarmed teenager in Florida, and a key advocate said Tuesday that it would no longer push for these measures. The move by the American Legislative Exchange Council came after several prominent companies that are members of the nonprofit organization severed ties to it. At least one cited ALEC’s support of “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Such laws, long pushed by the National Rifle Association, have come into focus now following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, in Sanford, Fla., in February. The case has prompted a national debate over Stand Your Ground laws, with advocates saying they are necessary to protect ordinary people from criminal attacks and opponents arguing they open the way to vigilantism. That debate has reached into statehouses—with lawmakers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin filing, or planning to file in the next legislative session, bills to roll back such laws. But efforts to modify or repeal the laws will likely face stiff opposition from the NRA.