Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, wants to get rid of the Stand Your Ground self-defense laws around the nation. He calls them “a license to murder” and an excuse for “vigilante justice.” Bloomberg has long been candid about his disdain for gun ownership: he authored the “Blueprint for Federal Action,” which argued against gun rights as well as supporting Senate Bill 843, a bill to end private sales at gun shows nationwide.
Bloomberg said of Stand Your Ground Laws:
The laws are not the kind of laws a civilized society should have and the [National Rifle Association] should be ashamed of themselves . . . This has nothing to do with gun-owners’ rights. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment . . . Plain and simple, this is just trying to give people a license to murder . . . the fact is, all Americans already have a right to defend themselves with commensurate force but these Shoot First laws have nothing to do with that or with the exercise of Second Amendment rights, instead they justify civilian gun play and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results.
Stand Your Ground laws state that a person who believes his or her life is in danger or could be seriously injured in any place they have a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.
Since the death of Trayvon Martin, the law has been under attack, but the implications of the law have been widely misunderstood. As Ken Blackwell, the former Undersecretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Ken Klukowski, from Liberty University School of Law, wrote:
First, the threat must be deadly. It’s not just that you’re under attack. You must be attacked with sufficient force to kill you or cause massive bodily harm, or rape.
Second, it’s not enough that the victim believes he is under a deadly threat. His belief must also be reasonable, meaning that under the circumstances an objective observer would also conclude the victim could be killed or severely injured.
Third, SYG only protects victims; it does not apply to attackers. If you’re attacking someone, you cannot claim SYG as a defense for what follows.
And fourth, it doesn’t apply if you cannot retreat. If retreat is not an option, then the situation is governed by ordinary self-defense laws, not SYG laws.
Bloomberg spoke at the National Press Club, where he helped launch a national “Second Chance on Shoot First” campaign, which aims to repeal Stand Your Ground laws around the country.
The right of a man to stand his ground and defend himself when attacked with a deadly weapon, even to the extent of taking his assailant’s life, depends upon whether he reasonably believes that he is in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily harm from his assailant, and not upon the detached test whether a man of reasonable prudence, so situated, might not think it possible to fly with safety or to disable his assailant, rather than kill him.
Bloomberg may argue against guns for others, but he reserves the right to use guns for his own defense. The New York Times reported:
The mayor also takes along a police detail when he travels, flying two officers on his private plane and paying as much as $400 a night to put them up at a hotel near his house; the city pays their wages while they are there, as it does whether Mr. Bloomberg is New York or not. (sic) Guns are largely forbidden in Bermuda — even most police officers do not use them — but the mayor’s guards have special permission to carry weapons.”