Opponents of Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law objected to the measure early on, predicting that it would lead to an escalation in violence and “racially motivated killings,” according to a post at Think Progress.
Think Progress cites Reuters reporting from 2005, when the law was initially proposed to the state legislature. Democratic Representative Dan Gelber of Miami Beach and Rep. Irv Slosberg of Boca Raton are cited as warning that the “Stand Your Ground” law could “lead to racially motivated killings and promote deadly escalations of arguments.”
Police have indicated that under the law they have no grounds to arrest Zimmerman. Mother Jones reports that after the shooting, police did not test Zimmerman for alcohol or drugs and that he was not taken into custody because he was “a criminal justice student with a ‘squeaky clean record’.”
However, the very photo of Zimmerman that most news organizations are running is a mug shot from a 2005 arrest for resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer. Zimmerman was also accused of domestic violence by his former fiancee.
Chief sponsor of the “Stand Your Ground” bill, Republican Representative Dennis Baxley continues to advocate for the law in spite of the Martin shooting. Think Progress notes that Baxley has a history of insensitivity to racial matters, including sponsorship of a Florida “Confederate Heritage” license plate and a campaign against removal of a racial slur from the Florida state song.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been working closely with the NRA to promote “Stand Your Ground” laws in several states. ALEC is a shadowy group made up of conservative state legislators and their corporate funders. The group was founded in 1973 to pressure local governments into passing conservative legislation.