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Rasmussen: Plurality supports ‘Stand-your-ground’ law

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A new Rasmussen survey released yesterday found that far more American adults favor so-called “stand-your-ground” (SYG) laws than oppose them, while the mother of the Florida teen killed in a 2012 shooting over loud music yesterday blamed the law in that state for her son’s death.

Rasmussen’s survey of 1,000 adults, conducted Feb. 17-18, found that 46 percent support SYG in their states while 34 percent oppose and 20 percent are undecided. The survey has a margin of error of +/- three percentage points. It is almost the same result as a survey taken last year on the subject. Here are the survey questions:

1* More than 30 states now have what are called “stand your ground” laws which says those who feel unlawfully threatened can defend themselves with deadly force if necessary and are not legally required to try to get away first. Does your state have a “stand your ground” law?
2* Do you favor or oppose having a “stand your ground” law in your state?
3* Do “stand your ground” laws improve public safety, or do they undermine public safety? Or do they have no real impact?
4* Do you or anyone in your household own a gun?

As this column noted, there is considerable press bias against SYG laws, despite the fact that the law was not a factor in either high-profile shooting already decided by the Florida courts. The law was not used by the defense in either the trial of George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin more than two years ago, nor was it the basis of the defense for Michael Dunn, who was convicted over the weekend on three counts of attempted murder.

Dunn was not convicted for the shooting death of Jordan Davis in that incident. Both Davis and Martin were black 17-year-olds. Davis' mother, Lucia McBath, wrote, "Florida's 'stand your ground' law is the reason my son is dead."

Washington state does not have a specific SYG law, but the concept of “no duty to retreat” is enshrined in various state court rulings dating back nearly a century. A person may defend himself or herself against an attack that happens anyplace that person has a right to be.

Attacking SYG laws is one more way of attacking armed self-defense and concealed carry. This column has written repeatedly on those subjects, and most recently noted that more than 450,000 active Washington Concealed Pistol Licenses are now in circulation. The Evergreen State was among the first to adopt a “shall issue” concealed carry statute, and state pre-emption.

MEANWHILE, by no small coincidence, the subject of concealed carry is heating up in southwest Washington’s Clark County. The three-member county commission is giving serious consideration to allowing county employees to have guns on the job. The Vancouver Columbian reported the story yesterday and the Seattle Times picked up the story today.

It is a notion that brought immediate negative response from local gun control advocate Heidi Yewman, and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a San Francisco-based anti-gun group.

Yewman told the Columbian that, “A gun is not a defensive tool, it’s an offensive tool. A gun won’t do you any good unless you are holding it out and ready to fire.”

Lindsay Nichols, an attorney with the Law Center group, was quoted asserting, “All the evidence points to the fact that more guns in one place leads to more violence.”

Tomorrow, in an exclusive interview, this column will talk to Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke, who explains why he is backing the idea of allowing county employees to have firearms.

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