Bill Clinton latest Democrat to question Florida's Stand Your Ground law

Share on Nextdoor

Speaking to ABC News' Jake Tapper, Clinton says he hopes there will now be a serious reappraisal of the law.

?I think the law is going to create real problems because anyone can ? anyone who doesn?t have a criminal background, anyone not prohibited by the Brady Bill and caught by the checks ? can basically be a part of a neighborhood watch where they have a concealed weapon whether they had proper law enforcement training or not. And whether they?ve had any experience in conflict situations with people or not.

The former president also tells ABC News that he doesn't appreciate the trashing of Trayvon Martin, as some conservative blogs and television and radio personalities have done in the past week.

"Whatever the facts were ? all these people trying to jump on him and talking about some mistake he made in his life ? that?s irrelevant because [he's an] unarmed person who was killed on the street by a gun. And so I hope justice will be done in this case, but I hope that the larger justice? would somehow redeem a portion of this terrible loss.?

He said: ?the American people should re-examine their position on that and ask: Is this really worth it? Are we really all that much safer taking the chance that this kind of thing could happen over and over and over again??

The last time Democrats in Congress made any attempt at gun control was last year, with New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney pushing a bill to limit the size of ammunition clips after the attempted assassination of Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords. But no bill came forth.

Last year President Obama called for three changes in gun policy, though he was not endorsing any legislation. He called for the tougher enforcement of existing laws, notably the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is designed to block gun sales to those barred from owning them; (2) new incentives for states to report information to NICS; and (3) a renewed effort to make NICS faster and more up to date.

In 1994, Republicans gained 54 seats in the midterm Congressional election — and a large part of that victory was attributed to a backlash in swing districts against gun control legislation. President Clinton had signed the Brady bill, which instituted background checks for gun purchases, in November 1993 and the assault weapons ban in September 1994, just before the elections.

That's when Democrats nationally pretty much gave up the ghost on gun control. The final nail in the proverbial casket on the issue, if you will, happened in 2000. As has reported, the party's presidential nominee, Al Gore, muted his support for gun control to build support in battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan where support for gun rights runs high. After Gore lost in the recount, many Democrats blamed the defeat on previous pro-gun control positions Gore had taken, and pulled the party further back from where it had been on the issue.

In Florida many Democrats in the Legislature have called for a repeal or serious revision of the state's controversial Stand Your Ground law, passed in 2005. And so is one of the national party's standard-bearers, Bill Clinton.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.