Despite an outcry from civil rights groups, a call for close examination by President Barack Obama and even a 1960s-style sit-in at the Florida governor’s office, the jury’s verdict that George Zimmerman was justified in shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin is unlikely to spur change to any of the nation’s stand-your-ground self-defense laws, says the Miami Herald. “I support stand your ground,” Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said. “I do not see any reason to change it,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, also a Republican.
At least 21 states have laws similar to that in Florida, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many are conservative and lean toward laws that defend gun owners’ rights. So far, there does not appear to be an appetite in Florida or other states to repeal or change the laws, which generally eliminate a person’s duty to retreat in the face of a serious physical threat. In fact, some states are moving in the opposite direction. “The debate about stand-your-ground laws largely reproduces existing divisions in American politics, particularly between blacks and whites and between Democrats and Republicans,” said John Sides, associate professor of political science at George Washington University.