President Clinton Hopes Trayvon Martin Case Leads to Reappraisal of 'Stand Your Ground' Laws
Former President Bill Clinton said the "tragedy" of the killing of Trayvon Martin should cause a re-thinking of the "Stand Your Ground" law.
"There are different stories being told," the former president said, "so the first thing I have to say is that it's important to find out the facts."
Clinton continued "but to me, beyond the incredible personal tragedy- this young man was not armed, he clearly presented no threat to anybody's life - is, the most important thing I've read was from the former police chief in Florida in the community, he was one of many law enforcement officers testifying against that Stand Your Ground law. And he said, you know this is going to create all kinds of problems. And it's going to be almost impossible to prove what was in someone's mind when a certain thing happened."
Clinton said "people have always had a right to have a handgun in their home- to protect their homes- then we've seen this breathtaking expansion of the concealed weapons laws in America moving from the late 90's into this decade, far - if you will - to the extreme that America had ever been on these.
"And now the Stand Your Ground law," he continued. "I think the law is going to create real problems because anyone can - anyone who doesn't have a criminal background, anyone not prohibited by the Brady Bill and caught by the checks - can basically be a part of a neighborhood watch where they have a concealed weapon whether they had proper law enforcement training or not. And whether they've had any experience in conflict situations with people or not.
"So I hope this will lead to a reappraisal of the Stand Your Ground laws," President Clinton said, "and I hope that the truth will come out and that the tragedy of this young man's loss will not be in vain- it's just terrible. Whatever the facts were - all these people trying to jump on him and talking about some mistake he made in his life- that's irrelevant because unarmed person who was killed on the street by a gun. And so I hope justice will be done in this case but I hope that the larger justice that would somehow redeem a portion of this terrible loss."
He said: "the American people should re-examine their position on that and ask: Is this really worth it? Are we really all that much safer taking the chance that this kind of thing could happen over and over and over again?"
The president made his comments in an exclusive interview with ABC News focused on his work with Clinton Global Initiative University.