‘Stand Your Ground’ law faces new challenge

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — You expect to be safe in your home, but just how far do your rights go when it comes to protecting yourself or your family? One state lawmaker wants to revise the Stand Your Ground law, tightening the rules by which lethal force may be used. There have been repeated efforts to chip away at the law since it was passed in 2007 and so far gun enthusiasts and gun organizations have fought them off.

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, believes the law as it stands makes it too easy for white homeowners to jump to the wrong conclusion and shoot a minority. “What I am trying to prevent is someone putting a target on the back of a young man of color, because they perceive them, no matter what, to be dangerous.”

Two months ago an Austistic runaway was shot to death on the South Austin property of John Daub. Police have suggested it was justifiable after Jared James busted in Daub’s door, although they are still awaiting ballistic and medical examiner reports. Daub’s attorney, Gene Anthes Jr., tells KXAN that even by the new standards Coleman is proposing, the Daub shooting was justified.

Enrique Recio was shot to death in 2012 outside Fred Yazdi’s Avery Ranch home, but Recio’s body was found on the sidewalk next to Yazdi’s driveway. Yazdi was sentenced to 20 years for that shooting.

Coleman also cites a study by two Texas A&M professors in the Journal of Human Resources which concludes that strengthened home defense laws in 21 states have not been found to deter burglary, robbery or assault, but that such laws have led to an increase in homicides in those states of 8 percent, or about 600 a year.

Outside Red’s Gun Range in South Austin, there didn’t seem much enthusiasm for the changes.

“I don’t know the statistics but I know if someone has broken into someone’s house, including mine, then I am going to stand my ground,” said Mark Craig, a gun enthusiast since his father took him hunting at the age of six.

Coleman’s proposal would permit deadly force in your home or property, but not your car or workplace. And a person would have to believe they are under imminent threat of harm, “unable to safely retreat.”

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