New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg working to get rid of 'Stand Your Ground' laws

5:09 PM, Apr 12, 2012   |    comments
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By Courtney Gousman

St. Louis (KSDK) - The lines are being drawn when it comes to "Stand Your Ground" laws across the country. Now, New York City's mayor says he's working to repeal what he considers to be a "vigilante" law.

With the National Rifle Association in town for its annual convention, NewsChannel 5 talked to both sides of this heated debate.

It's important to note, that neither Missouri nor Illinois have "Stand Your Ground" laws, but those in favor of the laws say it can actually help reduce violence, while opponents say it encourages "gun play."

The Trayvon Martin case, has put the spotlight on "Stand Your Ground" laws not only in Florida, but nationwide. George Zimmerman claimed self defense for killing the unarmed 17-year- old.

Right now, there are 25 states which allow the use of force if a person feels threatened in a public setting. Missouri and Illinois are not on that list. Wednesday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his plan to get those laws off the books.

"These shoot first laws have nothing to do with that or with the exercise of second amendment rights. Instead they justify civilian gunplay and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results," said Bloomberg.

Members of the N.A.A.C.P. and the National Urban League stood united with Mayor Bloomberg as he announced his grassroots campaign Wednesday.

Rev. B.T. Rice is Vice President of the St. Louis County Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. He says he's behind the effort 150 percent and believes "Stand Your Ground" laws are dangerous.

"It takes a country, our country, or a city, or a state back to the old western days. To where we settle our differences by gunning it out. We don't want that," said Rev. Rice.

Just a few miles away, preparations are being made at St. Louis' America's Center, for the annual NRA Convention.

NRA President David Keene says his organization has fought for years to increase gun rights for Americans and they're currently working to help create "Stand Your Ground" laws for states who don't already have them.

"We support those and we think they draw clear areas in which responsible gun owners can exercise their second amendment rights. We think it's important for people to understand the rights they have and not be forced into a gray area," said Keene.

While Missouri and Illinois don't have the law, Missouri allows citizens to use reasonable force to protect themselves on their property.

In Illinois, residents can use it to protect themselves in their homes. The laws are known as "Castle Doctrines."


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