Representative Matt Gaetz proposes Federal Stand Your Ground Legislation.
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Democrats in Congress continue to push measures to curb the right to keep and bear arms. However, one pro-gun Republican lawmaker has introduced a measure to expand the self-defense rights of all law-abiding Americans. The effort comes in the form of Federal Stand Your Ground legislation.

Federal Stand Your Ground Legislation

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, has recently introduced federal Stand Your Ground (SYG) legislation. The legislation aims at better enabling Americans to defend themselves and their families if subject to a criminal attack.

Gaetz introduced the National “Stand Your Ground Act” of 2021 along with several other pro-gun Republican lawmakers. Included are, fellow Florida Rep. Greg Steube, Texas Reps. Louie Gohmert and Randy Weber, Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, and Arizona Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The bill would basically make Florida’s strong SYG law a federal statute. The law justifies the use of deadly force if a person feels it is needed to defend themselves or others against great bodily harm or imminent death.

“Like Kyle Rittenhouse, every American has the right to defend their life from an attacker,” Gaetz said in a press release about the measure. “If someone tries to kill you, you should have the right to return fire and preserve your life. Let’s reaffirm in law what exists in our Constitution and in the hearts of our fellow Americans. Abolish the legal duty of retreat everywhere.”

Pertaining to the use of non-deadly force by individuals, the federal legislation states: ‘‘A person is justified in using, threatening, or attempting to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against an aggressor’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this paragraph does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.”

Extended Justification

The measure also provides similar justification in the use of deadly force by individuals under unlawful attack. Additionally, it clearly states the use of deadly force is justified anywhere a law-abiding person can legally be.

“A person is justified in using, threatening, or attempting to use deadly force if he or she reasonably [believes] that using, threatening, or attempting to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony,” the measure states. “A person who uses, threatens, or attempts to use deadly force in accordance with this paragraph does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand your ground if the person using, threatening, or attempts to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she [has] a right to be.”

Robust Opposition

Of course, anti-gun legislators and organizations hate SYG laws, often referring to them as a license to murder. Ignoring them as extensions of the right of self-defense and the Second Amendment-protected right to keep and bear arms.

So-called Everytown For Gun Safety puts it this way: “Stand Your Ground laws give people a license to kill, allowing those who shoot others to obtain immunity, even if they started the confrontation and even when they can safely de-escalate the situation by walking away. Stand Your Ground laws are inherently dangerous because they change the nature of gun violence in a state by encouraging escalation of violence and, according to research, do nothing to deter overall crime.”

Based on a constant stream of disinformation from many such groups, gun owners can expect robust opposition to Gaetz’s proposal. We’ll continue following this measure as it is considered in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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