Reporting Tim Kephart
ST. LOUIS (CBSMiami) – The National Rifle Association is coming to the defense of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law it helped write in 2005 and targeting the media for its coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.
NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said the media is guilty of “sensational reporting from Florida.” Instead of focusing on Martin, LaPierre said the media ignores crimes that happened every day across the country.
“But the media, they don’t care,” LaPierre said. “Everyday victims aren’t celebrities. They don’t draw ratings, don’t draw sponsors. But sensational reporting from Florida does. In the aftermath of one of Florida’s many daily tragedies, my phone has been ringing off the hook” with calls from reporters.
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has come under intense scrutiny after the Trayvon Martin shooting death. George Zimmerman, who admitted to shooting Martin, claimed he was in fear for his life and that the shooting was justified under the “Stand Your Ground” law.
NRA executive director Chris Cox defended the self-defense laws during Saturday’s meeting by recalling the case of Sarah McKinley. She was alone with her baby in her rural Oklahoma home when an intruder armed with a hunting knife broke down the door. McKinley shot and killed the man.
“Castle doctrine can literally save your life,” Cox said.
However, the difference between the two cases is that McKinley was in her home when she shot and killed the criminal, which has always been a protected right based on the castle doctrine which gives you the right to use deadly force inside your home.
In the Travyon Martin case and under Florida law, the castle doctrine has been expanded to any area you are standing in. Previously, it was legal to meet any force against you with the same sort of force in public. It was also protected to use deadly force, provided you couldn’t leave the situation.
For the NRA, any erosion of that law would be considered a major political loss. Florida Democrats have called for the law to be repealed. Florida Republicans have asked to wait on any action until the full facts of the case come out.
Zimmerman was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder by special prosecutor State Attorney Angela Corey. Zimmerman’s claims were rejected by Corey who said Zimmerman pursued Martin and shot him after a brief scuffle and after Martin tried to run home.
Similar “Stand Your Ground” laws are in effect in about 30 states.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)