WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans and Democrats are debating the merits of state stand your ground laws, with Democrats urging a review and Republicans saying the policy is a matter of self-defense.
Under the gaze of Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, Sen. Dick Durbin opened the hearing by saying the laws have been abused and urging Congress to consider how the policy would affect other gun legislation. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said the laws make possible the right to self defense.
At least 22 states have some form of the law, which generally cancels a person's duty to retreat in the face of a serious physical threat.
The 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed, was shot in 2012. A jury acquitted George Zimmerman earlier this year, sparking racial tension and debate over the laws.