Trayvon Martin’s Mother Tells Senate Panel ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Don’t Work

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 29: Sybrina Fulton of Miami, Fla., mother of Trayvon Martin, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 'Stand Your Ground' laws October 29, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on ''Stand Your Ground' Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force.'
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
See more stories about...
Elahe Izadi
Oct. 29, 2013, 9:24 a.m.

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.”

What We're Following See More »
Clinton Campaign Also Hacked
10 hours ago
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
11 hours ago

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.