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Group Seeks To Reform Indiana’s “Stand Your Ground” Law

Indiana has a law similar to Florida's so called "Stand Your Ground" legislation. A national group is seeking to reform these types of laws.

Indianapolis demonstrators in hoodies

Photo: Amber Wright (Twitter)

Many who participated in the rally wore hoodies to show how the clothing has become a symbol of racism. Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was killed.

In the wake of the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, a national group is urging for the repeal and reform of so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws around the country, which includes Indiana’s.

17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida by a neighborhood watch volunteer in February. Many believe Florida’s Stand Your Ground law contributed to Martin’s death. Such a law may be a legal defense for a person who uses deadly force when there’s a reasonable belief of a threat to them.

The Second Chance on Shoot First campaign is organizing efforts to repeal and reform such laws that exist in 26 states, including Indiana. Campaign spokesman Christopher Brown says these laws create confusion for the public and law enforcement.

“Shoot first laws are creating a situation where the difference between an actual justified homicide and a murder or manslaughter is no longer clear,” he says.

Brown says the campaign is going after laws that give people the right to use deadly force when attacked without requiring them to try to remove themselves from the situation first. 

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma says a repeal or reform of Indiana’s statute would be seen by some as a reform of gun rights.

“Most of our folks are strong Second Amendment defenders, including myself, but we’ll be happy to take a look at concerns with the current status of gun rights in Indiana,” he says.

Bosma also says Indiana hasn’t experienced any problems like those Florida is dealing with.

Indiana’s ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ reads:

IC 35-41-3-2
Use of force to protect person or property
Sec. 2. (a) A person is justified in using reasonable force against another person to protect the person or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person:
(1) is justified in using deadly force; and
(2) does not have a duty to retreat;
if the person reasonably believes that that force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person or a third person or the commission of a forcible felony. No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary.

(b) A person:
(1) is justified in using reasonable force, including deadly force, against another person; and
(2) does not have a duty to retreat;
if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person’s unlawful entry of or attack on the person’s dwelling, curtilage, or occupied motor vehicle.

(c) With respect to property other than a dwelling, curtilage, or an occupied motor vehicle, a person is justified in using reasonable force against another person if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to immediately prevent or terminate the other person’s trespass on or criminal interference with property lawfully in the person’s possession, lawfully in possession of a member of the person’s immediate family, or belonging to a person whose property the person has authority to protect. However, a person:
(1) is justified in using deadly force; and
(2) does not have a duty to retreat;
only if that force is justified under subsection (a).

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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