Sybrina Fulton, the mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, told a Senate panel Tuesday that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law “certainly did not work in my case.”
“The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today,” Fulton said. At one point, she choked back tears when talking about how her son was fatally shot as he walked to the store for snacks. In her prepared testimony, she asked that Stand Your Ground laws be clarified “so that they are applied logically and most importantly, consistently.”
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing convened by Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had originally been slated for September but was postponed because of the proximity in time to the Navy Yard shooting.
Lawyers for George Zimmerman, the man acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, didn’t cite Stand Your Ground laws in their defense, but many point to jury instructions in the case that state Zimmerman “had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force” if he believed it was needed to prevent death or “great bodily harm.”
Tuesday’s hearing represented a now rare moment for gun laws to come into congressional focus, even as no legislation is pending before the House or Senate. Durbin said that such laws disproportionately harm African-Americans.
But subcommittee ranking member Ted Cruz, R-Texas, bristled at that, saying black defendants commonly use Stand Your Ground laws in their defense and charged that the death of Martin was being exploited for political purposes.
Cruz told Fulton that he recognizes she is “simply mourning the loss of your son, but there are other players who are seeking to do a great deal more.”