Mayor Michael Bloomberg went down to Washington D.C. earlier today to advocate for limits to “Stand Your Ground” laws, made famous by the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin, which allow looser standards for the use of deadly force. Flanked by representatives of groups like the NAACP and National Urban League, he announced a new initiative to push states, particularly Florida, to reform their self-defense laws.
“These laws are not the kind of laws that a civilized society should have,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the event. “This has nothing to do with gun owners’ rights, nothing to do with the Second Amendment. Plain and simple, this is just trying to give people a license to murder.”
“No civilized society that I know of, outside of America, has laws that permit anybody to just decide someone shouldn’t be alive, pull out a gun, shoot them, and get away with it,” he later added.
(The actual standard to use deadly force under these types of laws, according to Wikipedia, is “reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first.”)
Mr. Bloomberg made two points about his involvement in other states’ laws in this regard. First, he and his family travel to these states and have a basic wish to be safe.
“I go to states with stand-your-ground laws, my daughters go to states with stand-your-ground laws,” he said. “This is part of America and I think these kinds of laws that lead to vigilantism are just not appropriate.”
He also made the argument that, with recent legislation moving forward in Washington D.C., Florida’s laws could directly apply to New York.
“Just weeks after the [Trayvon Martin shooting], United States senators introduced NRA-backed legislation that would require all states to honor any permit to carry a concealed weapon issued by any other state,” he said. “In fact, Florida authorities have still not, as far as I know, revoked George Zimmerman’s concealed carry permit. So if Congress passed the legislation today, he could legally carry a gun in New York City.”
He concluded the press conference with another direct appeal to civilized society.
“I’m tired of going to funerals. Police officers across this county’s lives are today a lot less safe than they used to be. Your lives and the lives of your children are a lot less safe than they used to be. At some point here we have to stand up as a civilized society and say we’re not going to take this anymore.”