The PJ Tatler

Remember when Barack Obama Supported 'Stand Your Ground' Laws? Neither Does He.

On Friday, President Obama launched a distraction move against Stand Your Ground laws. He made the move during his remarks on the Zimmerman verdict, despite the fact that Stand Your Ground laws played no role in that case.

Well, back in 2004 Obama was a state senator in Illinois. John Fund writes that at that time Obama sponsored SB 2386, “which broadened the state’s Stand Your Ground law by shielding the person who was attacked from being sued in civil court by perpetrators or their estates when a ’stand your ground’ defense is used in protecting his or her person, dwelling or other property.’

“S.B. 2386 passed the Illinois state senate by a 56–0 vote on March 25, 2004. It sailed through the state house with only two ‘nay’ votes. Both chambers were controlled by Democrats.”

States passed Stand Your Ground statutes to deal with a pernicious phenomenon that started cropping up in the 1980s and 1990s. Home and business owners had become increasingly empowered to use force and firearms in defense of their property against criminals. Criminals wounded in these incidents began to find lawyers who would help them take these victims to court and sue them for the injuries caused in the incidents. Stand Your Ground laws arose to buttress the right of self-defense for the law-abiding. Stand Your Ground fought criminals and criminals’ devious lawyers. At the same time, home and business owners who actually used force against criminal invaders often found themselves in court on charges of assault with a deadly weapon or worse. Stand Your Ground evolved to protect these law-abiding citizens against criminals, lawfare and judges who agitated from the bench against the Second Amendment. These laws generally passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Very few wanted to be seen as siding with criminal lawfare. It was a sound political move for a liberal like the young Obama to be seen supporting Stand Your Ground.

As Stand Your Ground laws have spread and self-defense has been reinforced through concealed carry, castle doctrine laws and so forth, violent crime has gone down. Criminals currently know that they face a more armed citizenry who have the laws on their side. With blacks benefiting from Stand Your Ground laws disproportionately, at least in Florida, Obama is basically calling to empower criminals against their black victims again. It’s obvious that Obama is calling for reviews of the laws he once supported purely for politics. Every tragedy now must have a political dimension, even when politics logically plays no role. There is no evidence that Stand Your Ground laws have caused any problems, anywhere. But Democrats including Obama will put Stand Your Ground on trial to distract from the left’s failure in Detroit and from his own failures on the US economy and his IRS scandal as it creeps closer to his doorstep. If he has to risk some law-abiding Americans’ safety, well, that’s a price he’s obviously willing to pay. He’s willing to turn the clock backward on the right of self-defense.

Obama’s younger self might appreciate the breathtaking cynicism that his older self is currently displaying.