• U.S. Attorney General believes “Stand Your Ground” laws should be repealed
By Pete Papaherakles
Speaking to the national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Orlando on July 16 just three days after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman, the country’s top prosecutor argued that Americans have the “duty” to run and hide when threatened rather than defend themselves.
“We are all mindful of the tragic and unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin,” Attorney General Eric Holder told the audience. He added that he will actively pursue the repeal of so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws because such laws “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.”
“There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if—and the ‘if’ is important—no safe retreat is available,” he said. “But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the commonsense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely.”
A stand-your-ground law “is a type of self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation.”
The duty to retreat states that a person who is under an imminent threat of personal harm must run away from the menace before responding with force in self-defense.
“Stand your ground” governs United States federal case law in which the right to self-defense is asserted against a charge of criminal homicide. The Supreme Court ruled in Beard v. U.S. in 1895 that a man who was “on his premises” when he came under attack “was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground.”
Forty-six states in the U.S. have adopted this concept through the so-called castle doctrine, whereby a person has no duty to retreat whatsoever when his home is attacked.
Most states even go a step further, removing the duty to retreat from other locations. These stand-your-ground laws state that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant. Under such laws, there is no duty to retreat from anywhere the defender has a legal right to be.
Circuit Judge Debra Nelson’s instructions to the Zimmerman jury included the statement that he had no duty to retreat as per Florida’s stand-your-ground law. Still, Zimmerman’s defense team never used the stand-your-ground defense during his trial and instead opted to use self-defense as the defense.
Holder insists there is a “commonsense and age-old requirement” to “retreat if threatened.” That means, according to Holder, if a burglar breaks into your home in the middle of the night, you and your family have a “duty to retreat.” If a thug is pummeling your face and pounding your head on the sidewalk, you have a “duty to retreat.”
Fed up and disgusted with Holder, patriots are turning up the heat on him.
The American Conservative Union (ACU) announced this week it will be launching a campaign to impeach Holder and cited his actions in the Zimmerman case as one of the reasons. Gregg Keller of the ACU sent out a message to supporters on Thursday announcing the new effort to remove Holder.
“Attorney General Holder is supposed to be our nation’s top law enforcement officer, but he’s repeatedly thrown the law away for political reasons,” Keller wrote, noting Holder’s role in seizing records of a Fox News reporter, suing Arizona over its immigration law, standing in the way of state Voter ID laws and covering up facts related to Operation Fast and Furious in which two border patrol agents were killed.
Rather than a duty to retreat, Americans have a “duty to impeach” Eric Holder. That would be a good start.
Pete Papaherakles is a writer and political cartoonist for AFP and is also AFP’s outreach director. Pete is interested in getting AFP writers and editors on the podium at patriotic events. Call him at 202-544-5977 if you know of an event you think AFP should attend.
Support for Gun-Grabbing Mayor Wanes
• Bloomberg’s media attacks on pro-gun senators uniting opposition to New York mayor
By Keith Johnson
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s relentless campaign to disarm the American people may be teetering on the verge of collapse as more of his gun-grabbing allies distance themselves from his failed strategies and dishonest tactics.
Speaking before a pro-gun-control group on August 1, United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that looming budget battles have made it impossible for he and his colleagues to pursue legislation that requires background checks for most gun purchases, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows.
“I think sometime next year we’ll revisit that issue,” he said. “I’m almost certain of it.” Shortly after Reid’s announcement, an impatient Bloomberg took to the airwaves to voice his frustration over the congressional foot-dragging. “They have the budget to worry about?” he cried. “They can’t do two things at once?”
According to New York’s Daily News, Bloomberg has vowed to use his “clout and wealth” to unseat incumbents who aren’t marching lock-step with his anti-gun agenda. “We’re going to keep going after senators that won’t [support gun control],” he said. “If Congress won’t [act], we’ve got to have the public get up and say ‘We’re not going to take it. We’re going to vote for somebody else.’”
Bloomberg has already spent $12 million on political ads condemning the U.S. senators—Republican and Democrat alike—who refused to support the most recent gun-control measures. Thus far, that’s proved to be a bad investment. Instead of rallying support for his cause, Bloomberg’s ads have actually bolstered the reputations of those he’s targeted.
One senator is even wearing Bloomberg’s attack as a badge of honor for his re-election bid. “The Mayor of New York City is running ads against me because I oppose President Obama’s gun-control legislation,” said Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) in a recently televised campaign commercial. “And I approve this message because no one from New York or Washington tells me what to do. I listen to Arkansas.”
In recent months, Bloomberg has gone from a champion of the anti-gun movement to somewhat of a pariah. During a recent C-SPAN interview, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a longtime gun-control advocate and head of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, leveled partial blame on Bloomberg for the defeat of the background-check bill.
“Unfortunately, you have some on the left like the mayor of New York City, who actually didn’t help a bit with his ads,” said Leahy, adding that Bloomberg’s crusade “actually turned off some people that we might have gotten for supporters.”
Gun-grabbing Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has also spoken out against Bloomberg’s tactics. “The Mayor of New York City putting ads against people in red states is not going to be effective,” Schumer told Time magazine in early June.
Even a co-author of the defeated background-check bill has suggested that Bloomberg back off.
“There’s going to be an election in 2014. That’s the time, when we’ve exhausted every other avenue of getting the message out. Then do what you’ve got to do,” said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to a group of reporters on Capitol Hill.
Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) has also been struggling to maintain its credibility. Though its website boasts a growing membership, longtime members are dropping like flies. This year alone, roughly 50 mayors have quit MAIG. Some simply lost their re-election bids while others complain that they were intentionally misled into signing up.
“The reason why I joined the group in the first place is because I took the name for what it said—against ‘illegal’ guns,” said Rockford, Illinois Mayor Lawrence Morrissey at a June 22 town hall meeting. “I thought it was about enforcement of (the) existing gun laws against illegal weapons. As the original mission swayed, that’s when I decided that it was no longer in line with my beliefs.”
On July 31, Walden, N.Y. Mayor Brian Maher used even stronger language to explain why he quit: “Never was any information disclosed to me about the organization being in favor of gun control or that they would use my position as Mayor to spend millions of dollars to try to take away the rights of legal gun owners. I, like several other Mayors around the country were defrauded by Bloomberg and MAIG.”
More defections are likely to follow in light of new allegations that MAIG violated their 501(c)(4) non-profit status by using N.Y. taxpayer-funded web servers and staffers to host and handle their website. The discovery was made in late June by blogger John Ekhdal, who found MAIG’s domain name registered to the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications.
In response to the allegations, Gun Owners of America (GOA) has submitted a registered letter to N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman demanding he investigate Bloomberg on suspicion of “commingling government resources with those of the non-profit organizations he controls.”
The July 29 letter, co-authored by GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt, goes on to request that Schneiderman “determine if any laws have been violated, and if any action on your part is warranted … due to the strong possibility that the residents of New York City have been involuntarily paying to further Mayor Bloomberg’s personal, radical political agenda.”