Poll: A Majority of Americans Support 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

Gun owners, whites and Republicans are strongest supporters of 'Stand Your Ground' laws.

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About 53 percent of Americans support so-called 'Stand Your Ground' laws, a new poll finds.

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A majority of Americans might support so-called "Stand Your Ground Laws," but a new poll shows conflicting stories about how American whites and blacks, Republicans and Democrats feel about the self defense law.

[READ: Trayvon Martin's Father Urges Congress to Amend 'Stand Your Ground' Laws]

A Quinnipiac University poll released Fridayshows 75 percent of Republicans support "Stand Your Ground" and 62 percent of Democrats are vehemently opposed to the law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without the obligation to retreat. Overall, 53 percent of Americans support the self-defense law.

The poll comes after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a Florida suburb. Defense attorneys never invoked the "Stand Your Ground" law in Zimmerman's trial, but some have used the case as an opportunity to discuss whether the law is unfair.

The court case has become a rallying cry for some civil rights leaders, prompting President Barack Obama to weigh in on race in the U.S.

 

Along with revealing deep partisan divisions on the laws, the poll also shows that blacks and whites, women and men share vastly different opinions on the topic.

"Stand Your Ground' splits the country sharply along political, gender and racial lines," Quinnipiac's Peter A. Brown said in a statement. "With these kinds of numbers, it's unlikely the movement to repeal 'Stand Your Ground' will be successful in most of the country."

[DEBATE CLUB: Are 'Stand Your Ground' Laws a Good Idea?]

White Americans support "Stand Your Ground" 57 percent to 37 percent. Black Americans are reversed with 37 percent approving of the law and 57 percent opposed. More than 60 percent of men approved of the law and women were more divided with 44 percent backing the laws and 47 percent opposed to them.

Gun owners supported "Stand Your Ground" by a margin of 67 percent to 29 percent.

Congress will debate the merits of "Stand Your Ground" in the Senate when lawmakers return from August recess. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who will be leading the charge said his committee will explore whether the laws, which exist in 29 states, are discriminatory.

In the House of Representatives, no similar hearings have been scheduled, but a coalition of Democrats including Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., are also fighting to hold a hearing in the Republican-held chamber.

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