Debate Club

'Stand Your Ground' Makes One Person Judge, Jury, and Executioner

By SHARE

The basis for "stand your ground" laws is that individuals should be able to use deadly force when they believe their lives might be in danger instead of seeking to avoid conflict at all cost.

"Duty to retreat" is a fundamental principle of the law which asserts that if individuals are physically confronted with a clear and present danger while outside of their homes, they have the obligation to remove themselves from harm's way if at all possible, thereby avoiding the need to use deadly force in self-defense.

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In fact, in many instances, "stand your ground" laws may actually encourage retaliatory acts through the use of deadly force.

The burden of proof for someone to use deadly force under this doctrine simply requires that a person believes or imagines that he or she is danger. All too often, perceived dangers are arbitrary and rely on an individual's subjective reasoning. By allowing such a rationale for the use of deadly force, "stand your ground" laws are inherently flawed and have the unfortunate potential to increase violence and wrongful deaths based on misunderstandings, miscommunication, misconceptions, and racial and ethnic prejudices.

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With "stand your ground" laws eschewing the fundamental duty to avoid conflict, their enactment runs the risk of creating a Wild West mentality when it comes to mitigating violence and gun deaths. In states that have enacted "stand your ground" laws, individuals who evoke this defense are, in effect, acting as judge, jury, and executioner. With Illinois already suffering from high incidences of violence, I believe a "stand your ground" law is the wrong policy choice for Illinois.

Michael Zalewski

About Michael Zalewski Member of the Illinois House of Representatives

Tags
law
crime

Other Arguments

#2
2,695 Pts
'Stand Your Ground' Laws Promote Vigilante Mentality

No – 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Promote Vigilante Mentality

Dan Gross President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

#3
-2,561 Pts
'Stand Your Ground' Laws Protect the Innocent

Yes – 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Protect the Innocent

Rich Morthland Member of the Illinois House of Representatives

#4
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Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Needs Work

Yes – Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Needs Work

Perry E. Thurston Jr. Member of the Florida House of Representatives

#5
-2,787 Pts
Sometimes There's No Choice but to 'Stand Your Ground'

Yes – Sometimes There's No Choice but to 'Stand Your Ground'

Larry Pratt Executive Director of Gun Owners of America

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