Anti-Second Amendment group Everytown for Gun Safety is hosting an “hour of action” to demand the repeal of Georgia’s “stand your ground law,” which the group characterizes as a “shoot first law.”
“Shoot first laws allow people to use deadly force as the first option, even when they can clearly and safely walk away,” the group says in an event invitation obtained by GunsAmerica. “Join us for an hour of action to urge GA legislators to repeal this deadly, reckless, and racist law.”
The event will take place on Monday, March 14, from 6:30-7:30pm and is part of Everytown’s larger Citizen TaskForce initiative to “end Shoot First Laws,” according to a text message from Everytown to supporters. Attendees will hear about what Everytown has been doing to repeal stand your ground laws and participate in “social media and phonebanking opportunities” to urge Georgia legislators to repeal the law.
Contrary to Everytown’s characterization, “stand your ground” laws do not allow gun owners to “shoot first.” Such laws do not require the victims of a violent attack to retreat, but these victims must still be at risk of death or serious bodily harm to use deadly force in self-defense.
Georgia’s self-defense law, for example, reads, “a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
This justification does not apply to someone who provokes an attack or is committing a crime.
Everytown has chosen a strange time to push for Georgia’s law to be repealed. Three men were recently convicted in Georgia for felony murder after killing Ahmaud Arbery, a man they believed was responsible for a string of robberies.
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The self-defense argument failed to convince the jurors, however, because the men were the aggressors, and they couldn’t reasonably prove that their lives were in danger (among other reasons).
Another recent “stand your ground” case in Georgia also failed to grant immunity to a defendant. Marc Wilson made a “stand your ground” defense after he shot and killed a woman who was riding in a car being driven by someone he claims was trying to kill him.
“The evidence shows that Marc Wilson was justified in his use of force. And he applied a level of force necessary that he thought was necessary to… defend himself,” the defense argued.
The judge denied Wilson’s request, and the case is headed to trial.
The outcome of these cases suggests that Everytown severely mischaracterizes Georgia’s “stand your ground” law. If this law truly granted gun owners the ability to “shoot first,” the defendants would have been exonerated in both cases.
Georgians can find and contact their state representatives HERE.