U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday vowed to take a â€œhard lookâ€ at a new generation of â€œstand your groundâ€ self-defense laws enacted in Florida and nearly two dozen other states, although legal analysts predicted he would face an uphill fight in repealing the statutes.
Speaking three days after the acquittal of former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., Mr. Holder told the annual gathering of the NAACP in nearby Orlando that the â€œstand your groundâ€ statutes can â€œundermine public safetyâ€ and â€œvictimize too many who are innocent.â€
â€œItâ€™s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,â€ Mr. Holder said, winning repeated applause from the NAACP delegates. â€œThese laws try to fix something that was never broken.â€
Although Mr. Zimmermanâ€™s attorneys did not rely on Floridaâ€™s broad â€œstand your groundâ€ law in their defense, the verdict has focused intense scrutiny of such statutes.
Singer Stevie Wonder has weighed in by vowing not to perform in any state with a â€œstand your groundâ€ law on the books.
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