In recent weeks, the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law has made headlines and reignited national debate following the July 19 parking lot killing of 28-year-old Florida resident, Markeis McGlockton.
According to reports, McGlockton was engaged in a confrontation with Michael Drejka in front of a Clearwater, Florida convenience store. After Drejka reportedly grew frustrated with McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs’ decision to illegally park in a handicapped spot, the altercation led to McGlockton shoving Drejka to the ground, which provoked Drejka to shoot McGlockton in the chest. McGlockton was then taken to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Following McGlockton’s untimely death, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri declined to arrest and press charges on Drejka, stating the 47-year old “felt he was going to be further attacked” after he was slammed to the ground, he said during a July 31 news conference.
Sheriff Gualtieri’s decision has prompted a string of protests from Florida residents urging for the arrest and conviction of Drejka.
Since the law was established in the state of Florida in October 2005 — and promoted by the National Rifle Association — at least 24 states have enacted some form of the law, which says people are “justified in using deadly force and do not have a duty to retreat if they believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm,” according to NBC News.
The controversial law has put Florida under international scrutiny, following the 2012 shootings of 17-year-old Jacksonville student Jordan Davis, and 17-year-old Miami student Trayvon Martin.
All of which has left many questioning, if “Stand Your Ground” is a license to kill or a license of self-defense?
For Florida resident, Lorraine Bennett, George Zimmerman’s acquittal of second-degree murder in the fatal 2012 shooting of Martin could be viewed as a valid reason to repeal the law.
“I understand why people want to repeal the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law after the Trayvon Martin case,” Bennett told Baller Alert. “According to the 911 call and witness account, Zimmerman stalked Trayvon. However, if Trayvon did attack Zimmerman, he [Trayvon] was within his right to attack Zimmerman according to the law. Zimmerman stalking him, chasing him, and killing him then claiming ‘Stand Your Ground’ was backwards. You can not be the aggressor to the point where someone is running from you and then you kill them after they protect themselves from you.”
During his July 31 news conference, Sheriff Gualtieri went on state that the law has some subjective components to it since “it has to be viewed through the lens of the person under the circumstances of the time.”
Florida State Senator David Simmons, a Republican lawmaker who helped draft the original legislation, went on to add to NBC News that a person can’t claim “stand your ground” if they provoked use of force. “’Stand your ground’ is only a small part of self-defense, and is reserved for truly ‘innocent’ victims of an aggressor,” he said.
Despite the law’s ongoing debate between an “innocent victim” and an “aggressor,” Bennett admits her legal right to carry a concealed firearm in Florida has brought a sense of safety to her well-being.
“The law needs to be amended,” she said. “As a black woman who has a concealed weapons license. I feel safer knowing if I’m attacked I can defend myself.”
What are your thoughts? Should all “Stand Your Ground” laws be repealed or amended in America?