Over the weekend I had a post on Big Government that looked at the trouble Democrats are making for themselves by trying to depict “stand your ground” laws as bad laws, and further, trying then to hang them as albatrosses around the necks of Republicans. As we’ve seen, there have been a number of Democrats in state offices who’ve not only signed stand your ground bills into law but have actually defended those bills when gun-grabbers protested.
To date, Democrat governors who have either signed a stand your ground bill into law or at least refused to veto it include Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Brian Schweitzer of Montana, John Lynch of New Hampshire, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Janet Napolitano of Arizona.
And here’s the kicker folks—California, one of the most staunchly liberal states in the union, is a stand your ground state. This is truly bad news for the Democrats who’ve been shouting down guns rights in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, because they’ve so wanted us to believe such laws could only be found in those red, “hayseed states” like Florida. Yet the ugly truth is Florida’s stand your ground law only dates back to 2005, while California’s dates back to the 19th century.
To be clear, the California legislature has not officially passed a stand your ground law, nor have they had to. Instead, California’s stand your ground law rests on more than a century of judicial rulings in “state courts [that] are reflected in judges' instructions to juries in cases involving claims of self-defense.” Talk about beating the Democrats at their own game: here we have an example of a court making law, as they’ve been wont to do in so many cases regarding leftist causes, only this time the law they’ve made is conservative in principle and is recognized as the law of the land in the Golden State.
In light of this judicial feat, before juries hear testimony in cases where the defendant claims to have acted in self defense, the jury is instructed according to California Criminal Code 3470:
[The defendant] is entitled to stand his or her ground and defend himself or herself, and, if reasonably necessary, to pursue an assailant until the danger of death or great bodily injury has passed. This is so even if safety could have been achieved by retreating.
It’s hard to find a clearer annunciation of what a stand your ground law should say. And while it no doubt irks the Democrats and demagogues who want to pin the blame for such laws on the red states, the simple truth is that the existence of this law is good news for Californians.