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NAACP testifies at Senate Committee hearing on “Stand Your Ground” laws

10/30/2013, 3:27 a.m.
Hilary O. Shelton

(Washington, DC) – The NAACP submitted testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights regarding impact of “Stand Your Ground” laws.

“The NAACP is staunchly opposed to “Stand Your Ground” laws,” said Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau & senior vice president for advocacy and policy, in his testimony. “They are applied in a racially biased manner, and the bottom line is, as we saw in Sanford, FL, that they make it easier for people to murder other human beings and not face any legal consequence. As such eviscerating any deterrent to gun related homicides, and even providing a road map to getting out of jail scot-free.”

In light of the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin and the overwhelming national awareness around numerous issues surrounding this case, the NAACP noted that it has developed a set of state policy principles called “Trayvon’s Law” which embody legislative responses that will greatly reduce the likelihood of another tragedy like the killing of Trayvon Martin. A key principle of Trayvon’s Law is repealing “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Trayvon’s Law is a set of bills that focus on ending racial profiling, repealing stand your ground type laws, creating law enforcement accountability through effective police oversight, improving training and best practices for community watch groups, and mandating law enforcement data collection on homicide cases involving people of color.

Some of these policies can be pushed on the state level; others may lend themselves well to more local campaigns. The NAACP will continue to advocate for these policy changes on the federal level as well. Advocates across the country can push for any combination of these policies that makes the most sense for their city, state, or local jurisdiction.