Saying the laws “allow individuals to shoot first, and ask questions later,” the parents of Trayvon Martin have turned to activism, launching a political committee whose goal is to repeal or change “Stand Your Ground” type laws across the country.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton appear in a YouTube video marking the launch of Change for Trayvon, an organization geared at encouraging voters and legislatures to educate themselves on the new and existing laws under which, as Fulton says in the video, “decisions on shootings are made even before a prosecutor can review the case.”
George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old man who shot Martin, 17, on February 26th, as the teen walked to the home of his father’s fiancee in Sanford, Florida, was not arrested for more than 40 days following the shooting. Sanford police and the Seminole County state attorney’s office initially ruled that the shooting constituted self defense under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. After weeks of protests across the country, Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor, who charged Zimmerman with second degree murder in April.
Critics have said “Stand Your Ground” laws like Florida’s are applied unevenly based on the race of the deceased and the shooter, and that they tie the hands of judges and prosecutors.
“Most of the legislators who voted for SYG laws will admit that they never thought SYG would be used as it is being applied,” Martin and Fulton’s attorney Benjamin Crump said in a release about the new organization.
“Stand Your Ground” laws are now being used by the aggressors and agitators. I even had a case where an individual shot his victim in the back and claimed he was “Standing His Ground.” Most people don’t know whether these laws are on the ballot to be reviewed in their state or not.”