While serving as a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama co-sponsored a bill to strengthen what some are calling that state’s version of the Stand Your Ground laws that have been subjected to controversy recently.
There are 30 states in addition to Florida have one version or another of Stand Your Ground laws on their books, with Illinois being one of them since at least 1961.
Less than a decade ago, Obama co-sponsored a bill to strengthen that statute. NRO reported:
But the Illinois Review says Obama didn’t seem to have any of those concerns when in 2004 he co-sponsored S.B. 2386, which broadened the state’s Stand Your Ground law “by shielding the person who was attacked from being sued in civil court by perpetrators or their estates when a ’stand your ground’ defense is used in protecting his or her person, dwelling or other property.”
S.B. 2386 passed the Illinois state senate by a 56–0 vote on March 25, 2004. It sailed through the state house with only two “nay” votes. Both chambers were controlled by Democrats.
A recent Illinois Review article included the following listing of the bill’s co-sponsors, as well as the final vote before the full senate.
Like Illinois, Florida’s Stand Your Ground sailed through the legislature with little opposition. It was approved unanimously in the senate and approved in the house by a 94-20 margin.
But left-leaning publication Slate was quick to point out that all justified force laws are not the same. David Weigel insisted co-sponsorship of the bill does not make Obama a hypocrite and offered the following to demonstrate the differences:
“Stand your ground” is substantively different than what Obama backed in Illinois. He backed a tweak to the “castle doctrine,” which reads like this.
A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other’s trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with her real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in his possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect.
“Stand your ground” takes the concept of the castle doctrine and turns it into a traveling force field of sorts. Here’s Florida’s language:
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
The Daily Caller recently noted that African-Americans successfully take advantage of Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws “at a rate far out of proportion to their presence in the state’s population, despite an assertion by Attorney General Eric Holder that repealing ’stand your ground’ would help African Americans.”
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