Stand against 'Shoot First' laws

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UPDATE (12/01) - Following the tragic shooting death of Jordan Russell Williams, it's expected that his killer, Michael Dunn, will claim the killing was a justifiable homicide based on Florida's "Shoot First" law. Just 9 months after the death of Trayvon Martin we are reminded how important it is to fight back against laws that enable a culture of senseless violence.

Florida's dangerous 'Shoot First' law allowed Trayvon Martin's killer to walk free without charges for over a month. Shoot First laws legalize vigilante homicide and in Trayvon's case, law enforcement hid behind the Shoot First law as justification for failing to arrest George Zimmerman. Please join us in calling on elected officials in your state to stand against Shoot First laws.

Here's the letter we'll send to Governors and State Legislators nationwide. You can add a personal comment using the box to the right.

Dear Governor or State Legislator,

George Zimmerman followed, confronted and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and had been shielded from arrest or prosecution under Florida's 'Shoot First' / 'Stand Your Ground' law. I was shocked and saddened to learn that similar laws are on the books in over two dozen states, and under consideration in another eight. I call on you to oppose Shoot First laws and work to repeal them where they are already in place. We must work to stop preventable deaths like Trayvon's, not compound the tragedy by passing laws to protect vigilantes like George Zimmerman. 

The corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has worked to force as many Shoot First bills through as many state legislatures as possible, actually promoting Florida's Shoot First law as a model piece of legislation for other states to adopt. 

Black Americans and other people of color are commonly stereotyped as criminals, and we live with a criminal justice system that is stacked against both Black victims and defendants. ALEC and its deep-pocketed funders at the National Rifle Association, who conceived Florida's statute back in 2005 and have a vested interest in putting as many guns on the street as possible, may consider Trayvon's death to be mere collateral damage. But Shoot First laws are bound to lead to more preventable tragedies, and they are likely to have a disproportionate impact on African Americans and other people of color.

I urge you to fight back against these deadly laws — to oppose them where they are under consideration, and to repeal them where they are already in place. 

Sincerely,

[Your name]

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