To Michael Bloomberg, “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and other states equal legalized murder. “Plain and simple, this is just trying to give people a licence to murder,” Bloomberg, the New York City mayor, said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, according to Politico.
He took aim at the National Rifle Association:
“The laws are not the kind of laws a civilized society should have and the [National Rifle Association] should be ashamed of themselves. This has nothing to do with gun-owners’ rights. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.”
Bloomberg is a prominent gun-control advocate. His comments come as George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch captain who killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in late February, is reportedly being charged with second-degree murder and is in custody.
Stand Your Ground laws are in effect in more than 20 states. But they have recently been a target after Martin’s killing by gun-control advocates. By saying it is a “licence to murder,” Bloomberg has made perhaps the most eye-popping statement on the laws by a high-ranking public official.
He also referred to them as “Shoot First” laws.
“The fact is, all Americans already have a right to defend themselves with commensurate force,” he said, “but 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.”
Bloomberg also announced Wednesday that he had launched a campaign to reform or repeal the Stand Your Ground laws. In the accompanying release announcing the grassroots campaign, Bloomberg pointed to 10 states where murder rates have risen at least 35 per cent since the laws were enacted.
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