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Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Stand Your Ground Laws

The Florida mothers of two unarmed teens killed last year gave moving testimony on Tuesday at a Senate panel that reviewed “Stand Your Ground” laws in different states.

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, was brought to tears at the panel, as she described the night her son was killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. He was only 17-years-old.

“He was simply going to get a drink and some candy. That tells me right there, his mentality. That tells me that he was not going to get cigarettes or bullets or condoms or other items of that nature,” she told a packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “Trayvon was minding his own business.”

She continued, giving a solid case on why the laws, which have been dubbed “kill at will,” need some extensive changes.

“So I just wanted to come here to talk to you for a moment to let you know how important it is that we amend this stand-your-ground because it did not work in my case. The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today, and this law does not work. We need to seriously take a look at this law,” she said.

Lucia Holman McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, also spoke to the panel about her only child and the man who sprayed the car he and his friends were riding in with bullets. He then went to a hotel room and ordered pizza.

“That man was empowered by the ‘stand your ground’ statute,” McBath said. “I am here to tell you there was no ground to stand. There was no threat. No one was trying to invade his home, his vehicle, nor threatened him or his family.”

“Even the Wild West had more stringent laws governing the taking of life than we have now. Stand-your-ground defies all reason. It goes against the sound system of justice established long ago on this very hill,” she said.

Jordan, who was also 17-years-old, was killed just months after Trayvon, when Michael David Dunn shot into his vehicle at a gas station, annoyed that the teen’s music was too loud. He claimed he saw a gun in the car and retaliated. However, authorities never found a firearm.

His trial has been delayed until next year, but McBath said she faces the “very real possibility that my son’s killer will walk free, hiding behind a statute that lets people claim a threat where there was none.”

At the panel, politicians also weighed in on “Stand Your Ground” laws that could have Dunn walking free next year.

“Trayvon and Jordan didn’t ask to be martyrs. The American legal system made them martyrs,” Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, said at the hearing. “Stand-your-ground laws eliminate all responsibility to retreat and peacefully end an incident.”

Arguing in defense of the legislation was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who questioned what role federal government had in interfering with a state issue.

“Self-defense is a bedrock liberty of every American, and I would note this is not a new concept,” he said, citing the Second Amendment.

We’ll keep you updated on the latest in Jordan Davis’ case and the Stand Your Ground law reviews.

And as always, our thoughts and prayers are with both families.

SOURCE: NBC | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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