'Stand Your Ground' Law in the Bay State?

By Adam Reilly

March 29, 2012

BOSTON — Despite Gov. Deval Patrick's opposition, the Massachusetts Legislature is considering a bill that would create a so-called "Stand Your Ground" law — similar to the Florida law involved in the fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin. Senate Bill 661 would allow the use of deadly force if someone has a "reasonable belief" they're about to suffer "great bodily injury or death." 

Reaction on the street in Boston's Back Bay Tuesday was mixed, with several people expressing concern. 


"If it’s a time when you feel your body’s in harm, to pull out a gun… I’m not sure that’s the right idea," one man said.

"Obviously, people need the right to defend themselves. But it feels like that goes a little bit too far," said another.

But, one person said, "You think you’re going to die — I would use whatever means possible to save my life."

State Rep. Shaunna O'Connell is a supporter.
"If you're on a walk in the woods with your husband and someone attacks you, you need to be able to defend yourself without fear of prosecution afterwards, or being sued by the person you're defending yourself from. Right now the police, if you harm someone, they have to charge you with assault and battery," she said.
Opponents say the proposed law is too ambiguous and that it would lead to an increase in violent behavior. Patrick said on Thursday that he would veto any such bill the Legislature passed.

Do you support a "Stand Your Ground" law in Massachusetts? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

> > NPR: Trayvon Martin coverage

> > WGBH News: Special series: Race and the training of police

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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