Stand Your Ground Laws + Guns = Deadly Mix … or “GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY”

Are‘Stand Your Ground Laws’ and guns too deadly a mixture, questions Scott Martelle’s Op-Ed, 2/19/2014 L.A. Times, excerpted in part below.

“These are not abstract issues, particularly with the current legal and legislative debates over regulating concealed weapons. Is an armed America a more aggressive America? And does the existence of stand-your-ground laws make confrontations more likely to turn violent?”

Martelle and millions of Americans are concerned about what is going through the minds of individuals who regularly carry loaded firearms on the streets and just about everywhere in our nation. Gun advocates tout the “Castle Doctrine,” a 17th century English ‘common’ law brought to America and considered a defense of habitation concept, i.e., “a man’s home is his castle,” which recently morphed into the “Make My Day Law.”

The Castle Doctrine usually considers a home or, in some states, any legally occupied place, [e.g., a vehicle or workplace] as a place in which, when a person reasonably fears threat of death or serious bodily harm to self or another, that person may use force (up to and including deadly force). The doctrine is not a defined law, but a set of principles which is incorporated in some form of law in forty-six states. Nineteen states have “Stand Your Ground Laws.”

In states with the “Stand Your Ground” or “Castle Doctrine” laws, gun owners say their Second Amendment rights have been extended into the public square – a ruling that has yet to be taken up by the Supreme Court (see pg. 4). These individuals insist America has a gun culture. If so, it is time now in the 21st century, to examine our national values that continue to kill 30,000 people nationally. (Source-Wikipedia)

Toni Wellen is the chair of the Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence. She lives in Carpinteria.