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Posted by on Apr 6, 2012 in Law, Politics | 19 comments

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.

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