[Photos by Rikard Larma, Metro]
Hundreds gathered at LOVE Park this evening to commemorate slain Florida teen Treyvon Martin, who was shot by a neighborhood watchman one month ago today.
Martin’s alleged killer, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, is not yet facing any legal charges for the incident due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows citizens to use lethal force in self-defense. A person is not required to try to retreat if he or she believes deadly force is necessary to avoid bodily harm or to prevent a forcible felony.
Pennsylvania has its own version of the “shoot first” doctrine, which was instituted last summer with the expansion of the Castle Doctrine. It allows residents to use deadly force without a duty to retreat, not only inside their home, but anywhere they have a right to be.
The similarity has raised concerns among citizens, advocates and lawmakers. “This deadly combination of NRA driven action and negligence by state legislators and Governor Corbett leaves Pennsylvania at risk to an incident similar to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida,” a release from CeaseFirePA stated.
“Bad laws have consequences,” CeaseFirePA Board President Dan Muroff said. “Pennsylvania’s legislature needs to recognize that blind allegiance to the NRA brings with it real potential for tragic results. We now see how last year’s expansion of the Castle Doctrine can lead exactly where concerned citizens feared it might.”