A Look at Michigan's Stand Your Ground Law


"People were supposed to retreat, There were even judges who thought you should retreat in your own home, when being attacked. It made no sense."

Senator Rick Jones

Senator Rick Jones is standing his ground on Michigan's "Stand Your Ground Law."

"Whether they be black, white, Hispanic, or Asian, they all have the right to defend themselves from death, rape, and bodily harm. It's un-American," said Sen. Rick Jones (R).

Jones sponsored the Michigan Self -Defense Act, which was passed in 2006, after serving as Eaton County Sheriff. He says he saw inconsistencies in the way judges ruled in cases involving self-defense, and wanted to craft legislation that would create standards for such cases.

"People were supposed to retreat, There were even judges who thought you should retreat in your own home, when being attacked. It made no sense," said Jones.

The law was passed with bipartisan support. Now, more than 22 states now have similar laws. Michigan's law is designed to protect people who quote "honestly and reasonably" feel their life is threatened. That means that not only must the person defending themselves sincerely believe that their actions are preventing death or great bodily harm, they must also believe an objective or "reasonable" person would feel the same.

"Michigan doesn't have a duty to retreat. We don't have to run away, if there's a reasonable, honest belief that there's going to be an immediate physical harm," said Brian Morley, an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock Law Firm.

President Obama and Senator John McCain have called for states to take a closer look at "Stand Your Ground" laws. Democratic State Representative Andy Schor agrees and thinks Michigan lawmakers need to take a closer look.

"If we need to tweak it... if we need to make sure the language prevents someone from going out and stalking another individual, and taking some action against them and being able to use that as a defense... we want to prevent that," said Schor.

But Senator Jones says he thinks "Stand Your Ground" won't be a hot topic for long, and Michigan's law does not need to be revisited.

"What is happening is a few groups have found that this is a good way to get people stirred up and probably raise money for their organizations," said Jones.

Michigan lawmakers have no plans to review the law right now, but national pressure to review "Stand Your Ground" laws doesn't seem to be going anywhere just yet.


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