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More Demagoguery Stemming from the Zimmerman-Martin Case

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Roll Call reports the Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is planning to hold hearings on state "stand your ground" laws in light of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin.  The report begins:

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin on Friday announced he would hold a hearing on "Stand Your Ground" laws like the one that's generated so much controversy in Florida following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The subsequent trial of George Zimmerman for second-degree murder in the case generated national attention and became a fixation of cable news. A Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman last weekend of all charges, but that has far from stopped the attention on state laws regarding self-defense.

This is just sheer politics; as Kent and others have pointed out repeatedly, Florida's stand your ground law had nothing to do with the Zimmerman-Martin case and was not mentioned at the trial by either side.   Such laws concern the extent of a person's duty to retreat when retreat is available.  But it wasn't in that case.  Uncontested evidence showed that Martin, a physically fit 17 year-old male, was on top of Zimmerman, beating him up.  Zimmerman "stood his ground" only in the preposterous sense that he was pinned on the sidewalk.

Still, Dick Durbin has a political point to make, so the hearing is on.

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Even more important, what authority does the Federal goverment have over self-defense laws?

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