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Stand Your Ground Laws are Unconstitutional
‘Stand Your Ground Law’ was an initiative by the National RifleAssociation with the intent of promoting self-defense among citizens.Over the years, the law has been adopted by more than twenty statesacross America permitting the justified use of deadly force in theevent of danger. It is worth noting that the right of self-defense isan essential right to liberty that is protected by the NinthAmendment of the Supreme Constitution of the U.S. Even before theadoption of ‘Stand Your Ground Law,` the right to self-defense wasclearly spelled out in the supreme law.
Similarly, the Second Amendment allows citizens to own concealedweapons that are meant to be used to exercise self-defense withintheir homes to protect themselves from harm as well as theirproperty. It is evident that ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ overcomesthe constitutional limitation that stipulates the margins whereself-defense is permissible by coming up with a provision that doesaway with the `duty to retreat in the face of danger` rather promoteseffective response. The essay will elucidate the notion ‘Stand YourGround Law’ are unconstitutional through an in-depth analysis ofits precepts as well as evaluating inconsistencies of the law aboutthe Supreme Constitution.
Murder is not permissible in any society or religion. Biblically,murder in outlawed in the sixth commandment that states ‘do notkill’ . Thus, it is widely known across societies and religionsthat “no one has the right to take away the life of another humanbeing” . Ideally, every citizen in America enjoys thefundamental rights of liberty and life, and no one can take them awayunless through due process of the constitutions. In spite of thesecommon and legal premises, the ‘Stand Your Ground Law’deliberately ignored the constitutional underpinnings of theliberties and rights that the citizens of America enjoys rather choseto come up with a sectarian “law that does away with the privilegesspelled out in the bill of rights” . “Typically, there is adifference between self-defense and killing” . Ideally,self-defense existed in the constitution before the adoption of‘Stand Your Ground laws.` Citizens in states that have not adoptedthe law still enjoy the privilege for self-defense since it isunderpinned in the constitution. However, as much any individual hasthe right to execute self-defense there are “limitations toexercise the privilege” .
It is prudent that the ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ tends to promoteself-defense and murder vis-à-vis without drawing a distinctionbetween the two elements. From the Floridian statute, “it isevident that one is permitted to take the life of another if he/sheperceives it to be necessary” . In essence, ‘Stand Your GroundLaw’ is a form of vigilante justice that allows individuals to“employ vigilante mechanisms in dealing with situations and lateravoid the legal responsibility for their actions” . Ideally,the law does not permit even the law enforcers to profileindividuals. Thus it is “utterly unconstitutional for the ‘StandYour Ground Law’ to allow people to profile others in the disguiseof self-defense” .
Consequently, it is safe stating that ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ isa white supremacist kind of legislation that only exists just becausea “portion of the entire population is perceived to be dangerousthan the rest” . The law hurts the black communities acrossAmerica since the society has stereotypically perceived them in badlight thus making its people victims of the law. As much as ‘StandYour Ground Law’ applies to all citizens of the states that have“adopted it, there is evidence that its implementation is skewedtowards the white community as opposed to those of color” .Ideally, with these laws, people of the black community are alwaysunder the obligation to prove that they are not engaging in anyaction that an individual can develop the belief that they pose athreat. “It depicts the sinister intention of the law as well asdeprives those of color their fundamental right to liberty asenshrined in the Second Amendment” .
Armstrong 2011, asserts that the ‘Stand your ground culture’ isone that policies our public ‘white’ places and kills men andwomen of color that happen to be in them. In spite of the fact thatthe law is binding to all citizens, the manner in which it is appliedis racially discriminating especially to the disadvantage of membersof the black community. A case in point, “Trayvon Martin aseventeen-year-old black teen was shot in the chest by GeorgeZimmerman a white man on the pretext that Trayvon was getting thebetter of the latter” .
However, the jury of the case disregarded facts that Trayvon wasunarmed and neither “blood particles nor bruises were present onZimmerman’s face” . Ideally, the court ruled that Zimmermanwas invoking the ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ and later set free. Inanother incident, Maria Alexander a woman of color with a newbornbaby fired a warning shot to the wall of his home after beingattacked by her ex-husband. Ideally, in the past, the husband hadinflicted bodily harm that had sent her to the hospital. However, ina twist of events, Marisa was sentenced to twenty years behind barsmerely because she was a “woman of color and her husband a whiteman” .
It is evident that the law is discriminative since it is aimed atgetting the better part of one racial group at the expense of theother. “A study by Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Centerindicates that nearly 30% of white on black shooting are ruled asjustified with only 3% of black on white shooting being justified”. Evidently, the law is trying to permit the killing of aminority group that if often perceived to be dangerous in thedisguise of self-defense . Despite the advances that have beenmade in America to realize an equal society that “embraces peoplefrom varied backgrounds”, the aspect of racism remains engrained inthe system . Ideally, the laws are keen to violate the civilrights of other citizens, “but the aggressors get acquitted fortaking the lives of other human beings” .
The Fourteenth Amendment stipulates that no state shall abridge theimmunity of citizens of America. Similarly, it goes on to specifythat no state shall deprive the liberty, “life or property of anycitizen of America without due process of the Constitution” . Itis ironically for ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ to permit an individualto deprive the life of another person yet the Supreme Constitutionoutlaws the same. Thus, the laws are in contravention of theconstitution since their implementation infringes the civil rights ofother citizens hence making them unconstitutional.
Relatively, it is worth understanding the analogy behind the ‘StandYour Ground Law’ in America. Ideally, the laws were proposed by theNational Rifles Association and had since been adopted by more thantwenty states. NRA advanced the law as a way of promotingself-defense among the citizens to ensure that firearm salesskyrocket since “eligible residents would want to own weapons toenable them to stand their ground” . Statistics indicate thatthe number of concealed firearms in the possession of civilians hassignificantly increased since the adoption of the law across allstates that have adopted ’Stand Your Ground ’statutes.
Consequently, NRA was not keen tocome up with legislation that is aimed at protecting the citizensfrom imminent “danger rather had the profit maximization idea”. It beats logic why a statue would be employed contrary to theFourteenth Amendment of the Supreme Constitution that prohibits anystate to come up with laws that abridge the “privileges of immunitythat are adorned to the American citizens” . Similarly, theconstitution outlines that no individual including the law enforcershave the right to take the life of another person without due processof the Constitution. However, in both cases, ‘Stand Your Groundlaw’ foregoes the limitation set by the constitution to grantpeople the privilege of taking the life of other human beings in thedisguise of self-defense. In a nutshell, ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ought to be abolished since they are in contravention of theconstitution and the gains that America have made over the yearssince “Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther Jr. aimed at instillingequality and social justice in the society” . Bibliography
. Armstrong, Karen. The Case of God: What Religion ReallyMeans. 2011.
. Thurman, Howard, and Howard Thurman. Deep River and the NegroSpiritual Speaks of Life and Death. Richmond, Ind: Friends UnitedPress, 1975.
. Douglas, Kelly Brown. Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and theJustice of God. 2015.
. Cone, James H. The Cross and the Lynching Tree.Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2011.
. McAdams, Richard H. The Expressive Powers of Law: Theories andLimits. 2015.
. Johnson, Devon. Deadly Injustice: Trayvon Martin, Race, andthe Criminal Justice System. New York: New York University, 2015.
. Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln`s Second Inaugural Address.1865.
. Cook, Philip J., and Kristin A. Goss. The Gun Debate:What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press,2014.