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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      House Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations
    IntroducedJuly 24th, 2013

What is it?

This bill would prohibit States from enforcing “stand-your-ground” laws, or the operation of any Neighborhood Watch programs that aren’t registered with a local law enforcement agency and the Department of Justice (DOJ). 


If enacted, H.R. 2812 would take effect three years after this legislation is enacted. The Attorney General would be authorized to allow up to two one-year extensions for this deadline. 


A stand-your-ground law states that a person has "no duty to retreat from any place they have lawful right to be and may use any level of force, including lethal, if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death." Usually, exceptions are included if the person using deadly force without retreating is a victim of domestic violence.


States that fail to implement this legislation will not receive 20% of the law enforcement grants they would be otherwise be given through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. Alternative procedures for compliance would be allowed if a state is unable to implement this legislation because of a conflict with the state’s constitution.


The Attorney General would also be directed to conduct a study of state stand-your-ground laws by looking at their connection to rates of violent deaths. The study would also touch on whether women and minorities are targeted disproportionately by the force authorized by these laws.

Impact

People targeted by stand-your-ground laws, unregistered neighborhood watch programs, states with stand your ground laws, the DOJ.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth:

There are currently 30 states that have versions of stand-your-ground laws, and at least three other states have considered passing their own versions of the law. While the specifics of each state’s law vary, stand-your-ground laws in general have a fairly narrow focus.


In essence, these laws state that a person has no duty or requirement to give up ground to an attacker, or leave a place that they’re legally allowed to be, and may use any level of force to defend themselves if they under threat of serious bodily harm or death. This is similar to the principle embodied in the castle doctrine, which specifically protects people under attack in their own home.


Florida’s stand-your-ground law came under intense scrutiny after the deadly shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teen, by a neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was a member of an unregistered neighborhood watch group, and confronted Martin after believing him to be acting suspiciously. In the ensuing fight, Zimmerman claimed to fear for his life, and shot and killed Martin. Zimmerman later successfully cited the law when he was acquitted of manslaughter and murder charges. 


As contentious as stand-your-laws have been in the public discourse, the academic research on their effectiveness has been equally factious. Some research has indicated that the laws have reduced crime rates and violent crime, while other research points to an additional 600 deaths a year due to the laws — though it is unclear how many of those would be considered justified, and in self-defense.


Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) Press Release

The Hill

Daily Caller

Huffington Post

National Journal

(Photo Credit: Flickr user The All-Nite Images)

AKA

Justice Exists for All of Us Act of 2013

Official Title

To encourage States to prohibit "stand your ground" laws and require neighborhood watch programs to register with local law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice, to direct the Attorney General to study such laws, and for other purposes.

    No, I should have the right to defend myself.
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    The people have the right to self defense up to and including the use of lethal force. That right should never be infringed upon.
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    My House My Castle Enter at your own risk seems fair to me and my family.
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    Stand your ground laws do not give a free hand to commit murder. The stand your ground laws do not protect you if you set a trap and this has been proven by the successful prosecution of people who have tried to use the stand your ground laws to commit murder.
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    No if someone comes up to me and tries to rob me I should be able to protect my self, we can't rely on police all the time. In a recent bill passed in Supreme Court police don't have to help in a violent situation only the aftermath. The average time a police officer gets to the situation 11 minutes after the call you could be dead in 15 seconds of being approached. America is blind of ignorance.
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    People have a natural right to self defense, and not fear reprisals by law enforcement. Stand your ground has helped more minority's than any other group.
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    An overarching federal solution to state laws is not only undesirable, but it is politically impractical right now.
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    The right of self defense is the first right of every living being.
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    The fundamental right of self defense is standard to ALL life.
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    It creates a system where we become accountable solely to the feelings and judgements of gun owners, and excusing homicide by incredibly lax standards of "feeling threatened." It also ensures that there is usually no second witness --when they are killed--to provide their side of the situation. While people have the right to defend themselves, stand your ground laws allow--and excuse--immediate recourse to deadly force by self-appointed judges.
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    Because we have the right to defend ourselves.
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    The only effective federal legislation is to repeal any and all legislation that impedes or restricts law-abiding citizen's 2nd Amendment rights, to include repeal of ALL "Gun Free Zones", and NFA. "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" is a pretty clear statement. No governmental body, to include the SCOTUS & POTUS, should be allowed to restrict or infringe a citizens 2A right. Rights are non-negotiable and cannot be removed.
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    Standing your ground is the most fundamental human right we have. We aren't gazelle being hunted by lions who have no option but to flee and hope they prey on the weak in the herd. Criminals need to know that the public won't tolerate this nonsense.
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    We have a right to defend ourselves, our families, our homes, and our possessions.
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    Law or no law i Will defend me and mine
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    People need to be able to protect themselves when they are posed with a threat. People who have the guns must be able to understand how to properly use their firearm. People on the other side of the argument do not understand that with less restricting gun laws the people who are trying to cause harm are going to find ways. Think of it this way you would rather lock your door at night to prevent a burglar and never need it than leave the house unlocked at night and get broken into.
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    I should have the right to protect and defend my family and me and property from any threat. I have seen first hand what it is like to have a family member murdered and have to wait for (leos) to respond while the murder just casually walk away while every one else hid in terror
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    One has the right to self defense !
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    no because people need to protect them selves but I think they should just make it more strict.
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    Guns should be used by professionals acting in the defense of the public. The Second Amendment refers to participation in a local militia for the defense of their property in the face of attack, not to individual citizens' right to carry a gun for personal use. A gun permit confers a privilege, not a right!
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