Matt Gaetz Puts Forward National “Stand Your Ground” Self-Defense Bill

On December 13, 2021, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz introduced national “Stand Your Ground” legislation to defend themselves when criminals attack them.

According to a WFLA report, Gaetz published a press release, declaring, “Like Kyle Rittenhouse, every American has the right to defend their life from an attacker. If someone tries to kill you, you should have the right to return fire and preserve your life. Let’s reaffirm in law what exists in our Constitution and in the hearts of our fellow Americans. Abolish the legal duty of retreat everywhere.”

AWR Hawkins of Breitbart News highlighted what Gaetz’s legislation, the Stand Your Ground Act of 2021, entails:

A person is justified in using, threatening, or attempting to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believe that using, threatening, or attempting to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses, threatens, or attempts to use deadly force in accordance with this paragraph does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand your ground if the person using, threatening, or attempts to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she have a right to be.

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Gaetz’s legislation is modeled on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.  WFLA added that Gaetz’s measure has the support of  “Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Greg Steube (R-FL), and Randy Weber (R-TX).”

Gaetz’s effort is laudable but sadly won’t pass given the present partisan configuration of Congress. However, it’s good to see a Republican picking up on a current event — the Rittenhouse Trial — and using it as a springboard for concrete legislative action to address an ever-growing problem in the form of rampant crime.

Florida is a solid pro-gun state with strong use of force laws such as Stand Your Ground. It’s currently ranked in 25th place according to Guns & Ammo magazine.

Obviously, Florida still has work to do on gun policy. But it’s still good that a firebrand representative in Matt Gaetz is pushing the envelope.

More Republicans should use Gaetz’s example and campaign on similar legislation during the 2022 midterms and beyond. There needs to be litmus test Second Amendment issues that candidates must be judged on as they campaign and after they get elected.

The days of spouting off empty platitudes and not following through with them are over.