Stand Your Ground Laws

After Sen. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis started to filibuster, Sen. Bob Dixon withdrew his crime bill.
Jason Rosenbaum | St Louis Public Radio

Updated with final House action - The Missouri House has sent to Gov. Jay Nixon a broad version of what’s called a Stand Your Ground law, that would allow a law-abiding person to use deadly force in any public place, even if they are not under immediate threat of harm.

The bill also expands concealed-carry rights.

The House's final 114- 36 vote was comfortably above the 109 votes needed to overturn a possible Nixon veto. The Senate's 24-8 vote, taken earlier Friday,  had two supportive votes more than needed to override the governor.

Passage makes Missouri the first state to pass such a law in years. Backers say the Stand Your Ground provision is needed for protection. Opponents contended the measure would legalize murder.

The article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Though my writing is usually published on Thursday, the last one ran early.  It dealt with the Zimmerman verdict and my editor decided to post it on Monday while the subject matter was still topical. Turns out, she needn’t have worried about its shelf life.

Immediately after sending it in, I left for the annual family retreat in northwestern Michigan.

(via Wikimedia Commons/United States Senate)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)  says he will hold a hearing on so-called "stand your ground" laws. 

About 30 states have some form of the law, which gives a person the right to use deadly force to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger. 

A Florida version of "stand your ground" played a role in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.  


Durbin is an Illinois Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.


This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Protesters returned Saturday to protest George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin – and to call for a curtailment of violence throughout the region.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin sparked intense discussion about race, profiling and the use of guns. 

But beyond those all those issues, Richard Rosenfeld sees the case as many do: the type of situation that shouldn’t have occurred and could have been avoided.

"I think it’s an absolutely tragedy, frankly," Rosenfeld said.

Rally to protest George Zimmerman's acquittal was held Sunday night in front of St. Louis' Justice Center.
Jarred Gastreich | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Justice Department could prosecute George Zimmerman for a hate crime under federal law, but such a dual prosecution would not be justified without more proof of a racial motivation by Zimmerman or ineptitude by state prosecutors.

That is the view of legal experts in St. Louis who followed the Florida prosecution of Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a young African-American man.