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Iowa Lawmaker Proposes Stand Your Ground Law
IOWA CITY, IA (KGAN/KFXA) The Florida trial of George Zimmerman brought a controversial law to the forefront of American debate. The Stand Your Ground law allows parties who feel threatened to defend themselves. It was a version of that law in Florida that Zimmerman invoked after admitting to shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.
Nationwide protests erupted in 2012 after police didnt hold Zimmerman in custody immediately after the admission. Under the law, a shooter can justify their actions if theyre in self defense. Shooters can even avoid prosecution. Zimmerman wasnt arrested until two months after the shooting as evidence was gathered to dispute his self-defense claim. Johnson County Attorney, Janet Lyness, said a Stand Your Ground Law is unnecessary in Iowa.
Yet, now Iowa State Representative, Matt Windschitl, is introducing House Bill 57. It calls for Stand Your Ground to become law in Iowa.
Stand Your Ground is like shoot and ask questions later and current law is find out what the situation is and take the least course necessary, Lyness said.
Lyness said when she asks people what they want changed within the current law, they usually dont have an answer or understand the protections the current law offers.
When I look at the Iowa law, I think its worked, Lyness said.
She went on to add that she finds the proposal to bring Stand Your Ground to Iowa unsettling.
I think the language thats been proposed would be so extreme that basically you could justify shooting people very easily, and I have a lot of concern with that, Lyness said.
Ernie Traugh runs the gun store, Cedar Valley Outfitters, in Marion. He said sometimes the extra protection may be necessary.
I dont think theres anything in this provision that says, you know, you can randomly walk around and shoot people. This whole license to kill as people call it, thats absolutely not true! Traugh said.
While Traugh added that the last option should always be using a gun, if a new law protects those that have to use one, so be it.
I can agree with the fact that theres times that running away isnt an option! So if this will give people the ability to defend themselves that had to use deadly force at that point, great! Traugh said.
Stand Your Ground was brought up and not passed in the Iowa legislative session last year. It wasnt a part of this years session, but Lyness said shes anticipating it will come up again next year.