Georgia Senator Hopes To End Stand Your Ground

[UPDATE: This hearing was postponed due to weather conditions in Atlanta, and will now be held at 3:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 5, 2014]

Georgia will hold a hearing before the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee on a bill to repeal the state’s stand your ground law on Wednesday, January 29, and advocates are calling on supporters to “pack the house”.nd stand your ground in Georgia

The bill, SB 280, introduced by Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), seeks to repeal the statute relating to “no duty to retreat” in Georgia’s self-defense laws. The hearing will take place at 3:00 p.m. (EST) in Room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, located at 18 Capitol Square in Atlanta.

Georgia Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)
Georgia Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)

Senator Fort said in a statement that he is calling for “a full and fair hearing” on SB 280, something he claims was not done with a related bill last session. He said this bill, “seeks to end the morally wrong practice of allowing individuals to shoot first and ask questions later, a startling fact that is simply unacceptable for the citizens of this state.”

Advocates are calling on supporters to rally behind the bill and pack the house for this hearing. A facebook page promoting this event has details on parking and directions. Fort hosted a Georgia town hall meeting in December that was well-attended.

Georgia has been rocked by several incidents which may involve the state’s controversial law. One incident last year was on Veteran’s Day in Catoosa County, when a 17 year-old was shot and killed by a homeowner during a burglary.

Georgia stand your ground vicitim Ronald Westbrook
Ronald Westbrook

Notably and most recently, in November, 72 year-old Ronald Westbrook, who suffered from advanced Alzheimer’s disease, was killed after ringing the doorbell and turning a doorknob at a home in Walker County.

In November, Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition filed a lawsuit against Georgia challenging the state’s stand your ground law, as a result of two cases.

In one case, James Christopher Johnson III, a 25 year-old African-American, was killed at a nightclub in March of last year after an argument with a white man who was harassing his girlfriend. His killer later claimed stand your ground and was acquitted.

In another case, Herman Smith, Jr., 21, an African-American, was sentenced to life last year for killing a man at a birthday party in November, 2012.

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8 thoughts on “Georgia Senator Hopes To End Stand Your Ground

    1. SB 280 would repeal an integral portion of Georgia’s self-defense law that allows an individual to defend themselves without a duty to retreat. This puts my fundamental right to self-defense in jeopardy.

      This is dangerous legislation that stands to empower and benefit violent criminals in their attacks on law-abiding citizens. Law-abiding citizens should not fear criminal prosecution when they stand their ground and defend themselves without retreating from any place they have a legal right to be. This type of senseless and politically motivated legislation puts the rights of the criminal before the rights of a potential victim, and must be stopped.

      SB 280 is a misguided infringement on my right to self-defense. Victims should have the protection of the law, NOT criminals!


      1. @John,

        Honest and truth.

        The fear mongers ignore why castle doctrine and stand your ground laws exist. Anyone who wants to form a decision should study and scrutinize these two laws. Who do they “honestly” protect and who they don’t protect as well as why was there a need for such laws?

        Answer these questions and it becomes clear that those who would strike down these laws are misguided/mislead, are ignorant, base their opinions on emotion and fear pandering rather than critical thinking.

        Castle and stand your ground laws do not protect anyone from a criminal act and if criminal in nature or intent will not be protected by these laws. They do however prevent criminals or friends/family of criminals from dragging a their intended victim through the legal system in an effort to punish them for legally defending themselves. There have been numerous case reports of this and it was the catalyst for the creation of these two important laws that protect the honest citizenry.

        Hence the purpose of the two laws.

        For a critical thinker the lack of castle and stand your ground laws or worse to consider is the enactment of “duty to retreat” laws, who do they honestly serve?

        Application is important to understand with both castle and stand your ground laws, which DO NOT prevent immunity from a criminal acts. However, this is ignored by the naïve or those with an emotional false fear charged agenda.


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