Trayvon’s Parents Ask For Help To End Stand Your Ground Laws

Last year, our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman faced no punishment whatsoever. That’s in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of ‘Stand Your Ground‘ law, which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense.

We’re calling on 21 governors whose states have some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to review those laws and amend them so that people who instigate conflicts — people like George Zimmerman — won’t be able to use these laws to get away with murder.

‘Stand Your Ground’ was never meant to give aggressors the opportunity to get away with murder, but that is what happened when our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin was killed. After Trayvon’s death, law enforcement used the law as an excuse to refuse to arrest George Zimmerman. Even worse, the jury in the case was instructed to think of what Zimmerman did as self-defense, even though Zimmerman ignored instructions from the police and instigated conflict with our son, who was just trying to get home to his father.

We are shocked and heartbroken by the jury’s decision to allow our son’s killer to go free. Despite our despair, we must honor Trayvon’s legacy by doing all that we can to protect other young people from being targeted, pursued, and senselessly murdered.

We are not the only ones calling for ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to be reviewed. President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s not ‘black’ or ‘white’ issue, it’s a wrong and right issue. This is a matter of making sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we have been through. No parents should ever have to know what it feels like to watch your child’s killer walk free.

Here in Florida, we are pushing for an amendment to Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. Sign our petition to call on all at least 21 governors to review their laws and consider similar amendments so that they can protect children in their states, just as we wish Florida would have protected Trayvon.

We want to say thank you to all of you who have stood up for our son. Because of all of your efforts, Trayvon’s life is celebrated all over the world. Please continue to stand with us as we fight to ensure that his legacy is to leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for all our sons and daughters.

Sign the petition to end stand your ground laws

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Does Your State Have A Stand Your Ground Law?


[LAST UPDATED July, 2018]
Does your state have a Stand Your Ground law? Some people don’t know whether or not the state they call home has some form of Stand Your Ground law. Some people don’t know what it is. Further, some have even never heard of what’s called a “Castle Doctrine”, or “castle law“. Castle laws have been in place for hundreds of years. Stand Your Ground changes that. More than half of all American states have some variation of these two, distinct laws. Let’s break it down.

It all starts with the castle law. This is based on England’s 17th century doctrine that a man’s home is his castle (in some states, a vehicle is also an extension of the castle). In the castle, or anyplace a person owns or rents that they have a right to be in, under the castle law, the person also has a legal right to defend himself and family against great bodily harm or death, if a person fears an imminent threat – even if by deadly force.

In principle, it gives the defender certain immunities or protection from prosecution under certain circumstances and is considered justifiable homicide, or, justifiable use of force. It is also based on the principle that a person has no duty to retreat from a place he or she has a right to be.

An intruder must be attempting to unlawfully or forcibly enter an occupied residence, business, or vehicle. Some states apply the Castle Doctrine if the occupants reasonably believe the intruder intends to commit a felony such as arson or burglary. The occupant must not have provoked or instigated the intrusion, or provoked/instigated an intruder’s threat or use of deadly force.

In every state, the occupant must have a legal right to be there, must not be fugitives or aiding/abetting other fugitives from the law, and the law can’t be used against a law enforcement officer performing his duty. In some states, the occupant must not be engaged in any unlawful activity during the encroachment, and, in most cases, the castle doctrine gives immunity from civil charges also.

Now, castle laws have been amended to include a “Stand Your Ground” clause, which means one can use deadly force in any place they are legally allowed to be without having a duty to retreat. This can be a home, car, or place of employment as it applies to the Castle Doctrine.

Emphatically, Stand Your Ground specifically simply removes the duty to retreat and in many cases, a requirement that the threat must occur in one’s own space, making it possible for the situation to happen almost anywhere. This is the flash point of the controversy.

The George Zimmerman trial in the shooting of Trayvon Martin raised the specter that Stand Your Ground laws are flawed. However, though the defense didn’t invoke the law, the jury was allowed to hear language from the law, influencing the outcome.

Media outlets have several confusingly different online graphic maps of over 20 states having a Stand Your Ground law or some variation of it. Almost all states have a castle law. With so much conflicting info out there, I thought it best to educate myself on which states actually do have a Stand Your Ground law and try to come up with a more precise calculation, so here it is, without any warranties.

Check to see if your state has a Stand Your Ground law (this list is reviewed & updated periodically), read it, then contact your lawmakers and demand that they review, repeal, and/or abolish any Stand Your Ground laws [Note: some laws may have changed since this article was originally published; updated periodically to reflect any changes in links]:

[*This article was updated on May 14, 2016 to include Missouri, click that link for latest information on Missouri’s stand your ground laws]

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Trayvon Martin’s Mom Speaks Against Stand Your Ground

Sybrina Fulton

“Wrap your mind around no prom for Trayvon, no high school graduation for Trayvon, no college for Trayvon, no grandkids coming from Trayvon, all because of a law — a law that has prevented the person who shot and killed my son to be held accountable and to pay for this awful crime,” – Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother

Last week, before the National Urban League, Mrs. Fulton criticized Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

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Florida Started It, Others Followed, We Can Stop It

Florida Stand Your Ground Statute reports that according to an analysis of FBI data by New York’s Michael Bloomberg, co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, “States that passed Stand Your Ground laws experienced a 53.5 percent increase in ‘justifiable homicides’ in the three years following enactment; states without such laws saw a 4.2 percent increase.”

Which indicates Stand Your Ground is ineffective at the very least and at worst contributes to a higher homicide rate.

Florida seems to love controversy. Thirteen years ago it was the hanging chads of the 2000 Bush-Gore Presidential election. Now Trayvon Martin’s death has brought Stand Your Ground laws to the limelight and polarized the American public against the misuse of such laws. On October 1, 2005 – a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina – Florida, with the blessings of the National Rifle Association, became the first US State to sign “Stand Your Ground” into its laws. Let’s make it the first state to repeal it.

Florida had first Stand Your Ground law, other states followed in ’rapid succession’.

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Entertainers Deny Boycott Rumors


Aside from Stevie Wonder, it appears no other celebrities have publicly linked their names to a boycott of Florida in the wake of the Trayvon Martin trial verdict. Keep in mind the verdict wasn’t based on the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, but borrowed language from the law.

Washington journalist April Ryan caused a stir today when she published a list of about 20 artists she claimed reliable sources close to Stevie’s camp had confirmed as taking part in a celebrity boycott.

Quite a few entertainers on the list, including Madonna, Alicia Keys, & the Rolling  Stones heard about it and promptly issued statements denying participating. JayZ is reportedly still scheduled for a concert in Sun Belt Stadium also.

Ryan later said “So far, in addition to Stevie Wonder, two other entertainers whose names appear on the list have been identified by other news organizations as being supporters of the boycott. They are Mary Mary and R&B singer Eddie Levert”. Ryan has since issued this statement:

“I obtained from multiple sources early Monday a list of artists and entertainers who my sources told me had committed to a boycott of Florida following the George Zimmerman acquittal. Since publishing that list I have heard from several representatives of the artists named who say, on behalf of their clients, they are uncomfortable being identified on that list and are seeking additional information.”

The rumor mill is busy, and if you’re Wondering whether a celebrity boycott could hurt the Orange state, check out the Week.

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End Stand Your Ground Laws Now!

The state of Florida is the main target, but over 20 other states have some type of law on the books that allows a crooked person to kill within the law. The wording may be different from one state to the other, but the implications are the same.

While we understand that the jury in the Trayvon Matin trial was abiding by the law and did not specifically use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as a basis for their verdict, they were allowed to hear language from Florida’s statutes, enabling George Zimmerman’s defense to undermine justice in the matter. The jury had no choice, and even if he had been found guilty he would have won on appeal, under the same statutes,

We can change all this. In Florida, and in every state that has enacted laws which can allow someone to manipulate a scenario that allows them to cause great bodily harm or take another’s life, then use the law to avoid prison. We can put an end to injustice before it even happens again.

It’s time to get the word out, with organized, grassroots movements to let our state governments know we want them to END STAND YOUR GROUND Now!