Update 3: Will State Autonomy Be Another Casualty of Zimmerman’s Gun?

Stand Your Ground laws, which extend the “Castle doctrine” to areas outside the home, are under fresh scrutiny due to George Zimmerman’s shooting and killing Trayvon Martin in February. Martin, a teen, was killed in a suburb of Orlando, FL.

Florida Sen. Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale) opposed Florida’s 2005 legislation and is leading an investigation into the statute. Florida’s was the first such law; 23 other states followed suit.

Philosophically, it’s a variation on the Bush Doctrine of Preemption (2002).

Critics may be many, but supporters are also many and are very tenacious.

Supporters of Stand Your Ground laws line up behind the NRA and include organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank with business members from companies like Bayer Corp.; ExxonMobil Corporation; GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC; Kraft Foods, Inc.; Pfizer Inc.; Philip Morris International; Reed Elsevier, Inc.; State Farm Insurance Co.; and Wal-Mart. The organization describes itself as being the largest “public-private membership association of state legislators.” Yet almost 98 percent of the moola in its coffers isn’t from legislators but from corporations, foundations and grants.

According to ALEC’s IRS filings, over the past three years it has raised $21,615,465 from corporations, foundations, and other sources, and just over $250,000 in dues paid by state legislators, amounting to slightly more than 1 percent of its income… ALEC wrote off more bad debts ($100,000) than it received from legislative dues in 2009… ALEC also spends about $600,000 a year on what it describes as the “recruitment and retention of ALEC State Legislator members.”

Coca-Cola pulled its support of ALEC after Democrats called for a boycott on Wednesday. The call was not in response to the Trayvon Martin case or Stand Your Ground Laws but in response to voter ID laws.

Update 3: Kraft Foods and Pepsi have joined Coca-Cola.

But it should have been.

That’s because on March 13, as national outrage over Martin’s shooting was growing, U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) carried the water for the Stand Your Ground initiative. (Manchin is a member of ALEC.) They introduced S 2188, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012.” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) introduced a similar bill (S 2213 ) on March 20. (Notably, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) withdrew his co-sponsorship the following day.)

The Brady Campaign calls it “George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act.”

If this bill were to pass, it would basically export a Stand Your Ground laws mentality to those states (a narrow majority) that have not enacted such legislation.

Update 2: John Roman, senior fellow in justice policy at non-partisan thinktank The Urban Institute in Washington, DC, said: “The order of events is that we have states where lots of people own guns and believe in guns. They are more likely to pass stand-your-ground laws and weak gun controls.

If a state issues concealed carry permits (49 do) then the state would be forced to honor all out-of-state permits, even if the person with the gun would not qualify for a permit. Florida issues permits to non-residents. Get a Florida permit, carry your gun in Washington and be exempt from Washington licensing.

Update 1: I picked a bad example. Washington, like Florida, will issue permits to non-residents and the two states already have reciprocity. This is a list of states that provide gun permits to non-residents: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington.

Currently a non-resident Florida permit is NOT honored in these states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, District of Columbia. The federal law would force these states to honor the permit.

Currently a resident Florida permit is NOT honored in these states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, District of Columbia.

The federal law would force these states to honor the permit.

Currently, reciprocity agreements between states for concealed weapons are negotiated on a state-by-state basis. This is also how states decide whether or not to accept your motorcycle endorsement when you move or require you to take a new written or riding test; it’s a state-by-state negotiation.

From House Report 122-277 on HR 822, a similar (companion) measure which Rep. Cliff Sterns (R-FL) introduced in 2011.

H.R.822 eviscerates the authority of states to set their own eligibility standards for who may carry a concealed, loaded gun in public. State officials, law enforcement, and legislators are in the best position to decide crime-fighting policies for their respective jurisdictions.

That measure passed the House (272-154) in November 2011 but has languished in the Senate; it had 235 co-sponsors.

Rep. Richard Nugent (R-FL) introduced a similar resolution (HRes 463) in November 2011. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL) introduced a similar resolution (HRes 3543) in December 2011.

Here’s a list of all the Senators who have signed on to one of these bills (and how to contact your Senator).

  1. Sen Ayotte, Kelly [NH] – 3/20/2012
  2. Sen Baucus, Max [MT] – 3/13/2012
  3. Sen Barrasso, John [WY] – 3/20/2012
  4. Sen Blunt, Roy [MO] – 3/28/2012
  5. Sen Boozman, John [AR] – 3/20/2012
  6. Sen Burr, Richard [NC] – 3/20/2012
  7. Sen Chambliss, Saxby [GA] – 3/20/2012
  8. Sen Coburn, Tom [OK] – 3/20/2012
  9. Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] – 3/20/2012
  10. Sen Cornyn, John [TX] – 3/20/2012
  11. Sen Crapo, Mike [ID] – 3/20/2012
  12. Sen DeMint, Jim [SC] – 3/20/2012
  13. Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] – 3/20/2012
  14. Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC] – 3/20/2012
  15. Sen Grassley, Chuck [IA] – 3/20/2012
  16. Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] – 3/20/2012
  17. Sen Heller, Dean [NV] – 3/29/2012
  18. Sen Hoeven, John [ND] – 3/27/2012
  19. Sen Inhofe, James M. [OK] – 3/20/2012
  20. Sen Isakson, Johnny [GA] – 3/20/2012
  21. Sen Johanns, Mike [NE] – 3/28/2012
  22. Sen Johnson, Ron [WI] – 3/20/2012
  23. Sen Lee, Mike [UT] – 3/20/2012
  24. Sen McConnell, Mitch [KY] – 3/20/2012
  25. Sen Manchin, Joe, III [WV] – 3/13/2012
  26. Sen Moran, Jerry [KS] – 3/21/2012
  27. Sen Paul, Rand [KY] – 3/20/2012
  28. Sen Portman, Rob [OH] – 3/20/2012
  29. Sen Risch, James E. [ID] – 3/20/2012
  30. Sen Roberts, Pat [KS] – 3/21/2012
  31. Sen Rubio, Marco [FL] – 3/20/2012
  32. Sen Sessions, Jeff [AL] – 3/20/2012
  33. Sen Tester, Jon [MT] – 3/19/2012
  34. Sen Toomey, Pat [PA] – 3/20/2012
  35. Sen Vitter, David [LA] – 3/20/2012
  36. Sen Wicker, Roger F. [MS] – 3/20/2012

More about ALEC.

19 Comments

  1. thank you for the many facts you gathered on this Kathy. Clear.

  2. If this bill were to pass, it would basically export Stand Your Ground laws to those states that have not enacted such legislation.

    It does no such thing. Not even close. It makes reciprocal carry the law of the land only in states that permit concealed carry and has no effect at all in states that don’t. In addition and directly in contradiction to your claim it makes no reference or involves itself in any way on the legal uses of force in any state.

  3. Excellent article. Since gun owners kill 30,000 people a year and wound another 80,000 I want to know why they are not required to pay higher health care costs than us non gun owners. Gun ownership should be a pre existing condition. Also in Florida state workers who issue gun permits and do back ground checks are required to be drug tested. Yet not gun owners.
    Finally gun owners pump 200 million pound of lead into our environment every year, but are not required to pay for the clean up. Gun ranges are as toxic as super fund sites.
    It seems gun owners add nothing to our society but death and destruction yet all of us are stuck with the costs.

  4. @EE
    care to site a source for your claim. The posts author cited many sources, where’s yours…

  5. Her own llnk t the text of the freekin ill!!!!

  6. bill not ill, sorry

  7. (1) IN GENERAL- An eligible individual carrying a concealed handgun in a State under this section shall be permitted to carry a handgun subject to the same conditions and limitations imposed by or under Federal or State law or the law of a political subdivision of a State, except as to eligibility to carry a concealed handgun, that apply to residents of the State or political subdivision who–
    `(A) have a license or permit issued by the State or political subdivision to carry a concealed handgun; or
    `(B) if the State does not issue licenses or permits described in subparagraph (A), are not prohibited by the State from carrying a concealed handgun.
    So yes you could say this usurps the states rights to regulate who they allow to carry concealed but it’s only effect would be to allow those who already have a chl to carry in other states that currently have chl. TO say that it exports the “Castle doctrine” goes beyond misinformation.

  8. In short (to summarize EEllis), if you don’t want New Mexico deciding who gets to carry a concealed weapon in your state, you would have to ban EVERYBODY from carrying one.

    I still call that bad policy. I also call it stupid.

  9. “Yet almost 98 percent of the moola in its coffers isn’t from legislators but from corporations, foundations and grants.”

    As if the corporations really give a damn about how many citizens kill each other with guns. What a great way to keep us distracted while they continue pushing their tentacles into government though.

    When I think of all that states rights rhetoric republicans used to be in love with… Lord, they would spout it at every opportunity! Not so much anymore though eh? (another phony meme turns to myth)

  10. In short (to summarize EEllis), if you don’t want New Mexico deciding who gets to carry a concealed weapon in your state, you would have to ban EVERYBODY from carrying one.

    I still call that bad policy. I also call it stupid.

    Yep it’s not like we do it with any other licensees, oh wait a min, we do do it with driver licensees. State rights! We must not allow the Feds to usurp the Rights of the State to decide who gets to drive!!!

  11. When I think of all that states rights rhetoric republicans used to be in love with… Lord, they would spout it at every opportunity! Not so much anymore though eh? (another phony meme turns to myth)

    Ha! The Republicans seem to only spout states’ rights when it suits them politically- they claim the Dems want to take away states’ rights. The Republicans have always offered federal legislation to cram their f*cked up ideas down the whole country’s throat. Remember DOMA?

  12. Great piece, Kathy. Thank you.

    Someone said something about “bad policy” and “stupid policy.”

    Now here is an example of both.

    From this morning’s New York Times Editorials:

    Florida leads the pack in passing bills written by the gun lobby that block any sensible attempt to control the purchase and use of firearms. The dangerous folly of these laws was on display in the Trayvon Martin shooting, and will again be on display when Republicans gather for their presidential convention in Tampa this August.

    The City Council is sensibly preparing tight security precautions for the downtown area by temporarily banning clubs, hatchets, switchblades, pepper spray, slingshots, chains, shovels and all manner of guns that shoot water, paint or air.

    But not handguns that shoot actual bullets. In other words, someone outside the convention hall will be entitled to pack a handgun, but not a squirt gun.

    While Tampa officials wanted to ban handguns outside the convention hall (the Secret Service “has undisputed power to ban weapons inside the hall”) they faced a state law (backed by the gun lobby) which “imposes $100,000 fines on local governments that try to meet such obvious public-safety needs.”

    Read more at the NYT

    [edit to fix hyperlink]

  13. Maybe if our president has some spare time from criticizing the supremes, he might criticize some of the current and proposed laws on guns and magazines. Nah, there might be some lone gun nut crazy enough to vote for him.

    And, yes Bush, should have decried the rush to guns.

  14. Thanks, folks.

    @EEllis – Most folks, when they talk about reciprocity and driver’s licenses, are talking about the process of getting a license in a new state. Those agreements are entered into on a state-by-state basis. That’s how states are currently handling reciprocity on gun licensing. See Texas: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/a.....rocity.htm

    States have different criteria for granting concealed weapons permits. This federal law would trump that state right and lowest-common denominator (in this case, Florida) would rule. Repeating myself: you don’t have to live in FL to get a license to carry a concealed weapon.

    Per the Brady Campaign: “you can get a Florida permit to carry loaded, hidden guns in public through the mail or online.” That’s Just Wrong.

  15. @EEllis is correct – I said “law” when I should have said “mentality.”

    REWRITE:

    If this bill were to pass, it would basically export a Stand Your Ground mentality to those states (a narrow majority) that have not enacted such legislation. If a state issues concealed carry permits (49 do) then the state would be forced to honor all out-of-state permits, even if the person with the gun would not qualify for a permit. Florida issues permits to non-residents. Get a Florida permit, carry your gun in Washington and be exempt from Washington licensing.

  16. While Tampa officials wanted to ban handguns outside the convention hall (the Secret Service “has undisputed power to ban weapons inside the hall”) they faced a state law (backed by the gun lobby) which “imposes $100,000 fines on local governments that try to meet such obvious public-safety needs.”

    Texas has a even stricter law not allowing cities to enact their own gun regulations. While I understand the desire to insure public safety the stats really don’t justify a ban and there is something to be said for having uniform regulations that are standard regardless of where you are.

  17. “Stand your ground” is different from Florida’s “presumption of self-defense unless probable cause elsewhere”. “Castle Laws” provide the presumption of self defense inside one’s own occupied dwelling to stop a threat. They do not allow for “execution shots” or pursuit after the threat is removed. “Stand Your Ground” extends this to public areas in the era of gang violence and “drive by shooting” gang initiations.

    The shooter should still have to establish that the accused assailant had the means, opportunity, and motivation. An assailant with dropped weapon, hands up is not a threat.

    The problem with the Florida law is the automatic presumption of self-defense.

    I suggest focusing on the real problem.

  18. The problem with the Florida law is the automatic presumption of self-defense.

    Yup, and/or poor police/DA work.
    Bottom line, that law sucks.

  19. Most folks, when they talk about reciprocity and driver’s licenses, are talking about the process of getting a license in a new state. Those agreements are entered into on a state-by-state basis. That’s how states are currently handling reciprocity on gun licensing.

    Sure but states have their own criteria for granting Drivers licences also but all states allow and recognize all state licenses. That you first think of the ability to “trade in” your license when changing residency doesn’t affect that the States have to recognize licenses that they have no party to granting. So the idea that this would be some far step forward and sudden abridgement of States rights just doesn’t hold true. Mind you I’m not really for this law but never the less the over the top talk is just BS.

    export a Stand Your Ground mentality

    How? What basis is there for this statement? I’m looking over your article and see zero justification, heck you never even touch on the reasoning, for this statement.

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