McCain: 'stand your ground' laws need to be reviewed - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

McCain: 'stand your ground' laws need to be reviewed

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Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013 10:27 am | Updated: 10:53 pm, Wed Jul 31, 2013.

John McCain, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union,'' said he thinks the Florida teen, shot to death by George Zimmerman, got justice.

"I trust the judgment of a jury, of his peers, of individuals,'' the senator said. “No one that I know has said that this case was flawed, that it was corrupt, that there was anything wrong with the system of justice.''

But McCain said he can see where the law "may be something that needs to be reviewed by the Florida Legislature or any other legislature that has passed such legislation.'' And, pressed by host Candy Crowley, he specifically said Arizona's version of the law, adopted in 2010, is worth looking at again.

"And I'm confident that the members of the Arizona Legislature will,'' he said. “Because it is very controversial legislation.''

McCain, however, did not specifically call for repealing the statute. And messages to his press aides seeking clarification were not returned.

But in calling for a new debate on the law, McCain put himself at odds with Gov. Jan Brewer. She not only signed the original law but just last week, in a response to a query by Capitol Media Services, reaffirmed her support of it.

"I think it's a constitutional right,'' Brewer said.

Arizona has had laws on its books for years about when someone is justified in using deadly physical force. Those laws permit such use when "immediately necessary to protect himself against the other's use of unlawful deadly physical force.''

State lawmakers added the "castle doctrine'' in 2006 which says there is no duty to retreat if someone enters your dwelling.

The 2010 amendment expanded that to the street, saying an individual "has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force'' as long as he or she is "in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.''

McCain's comments put him somewhat in line with President Barack Obama.

Last week the president said it would be "useful'' to examine such laws "to see if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kind of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.''

That led to the president being criticized by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said Obama uses "every opportunity that he can to go after our Second Amendment right to bear arms.

"This president and this administration has a consistent disregard for the Bill of Rights,'' Cruz said.

McCain, asked by Crowley about Cruz' statements, responded, "I just don't draw that conclusion.''

The question of the wisdom of the law first arose last year following the shooting. But former state Sen. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, who sponsored the legislation, said at the time he had no second thoughts.

"We never ask our police officers to retreat if they are threatened,'' Gray explained. “If they are delegated that authority, that means that same authority resides or maintains with the citizens.''

As part of the same CNN interview, McCain said there needs to be "more conversation in America.'' And the senator said he is not excluding himself.

"I, as an elected official, I need to talk more to my Hispanic organizations in my state,'' he said.

"I need to talk to more African-American organizations,'' McCain continued. “I need Americans to talk to their friends and neighbors, not just those in their block or their circle of friends.''

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