State Sen. Ford wants repeal of S.C. version of Stand Your Ground law
COLUMBIA — A Democratic state senator from Charleston wants to repeal South Carolina’s version of the “Stand Your Ground” laws that have come under scrutiny in the wake of the fatal shooting of a Florida teen.
State Sen. Robert Ford will file a bill to strike the 6-year-old provision in this state’s deadly force law.
And he said he’s willing to attach amendments to a string of bills for the rest of the legislative session to force discussion of the “Stand Your Ground” principle if his bill stalls in committee.
“This is too important not to have a discussion,” Ford said. “Even Republicans have children. This could happen to anybody — it doesn’t have anything to do with race or political party.”
The South Carolina measure allows a person who is attacked at their business or another place they have a “right to be,” to stand their ground and use deadly force if needed to prevent death, major injury or a violent crime.
Ford’s effort to repeal the provision joins a similar move by a Democratic state representative following the February shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
George Zimmerman, a white and Hispanic neighborhood watchman, fatally shot Martin, who is black and was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
Zimmerman has not been charged with a crime and has told police he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
It hasn’t been determined whether Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law applies in the shooting.
Ford hasn’t been able to file his repeal bill yet because the Senate was on furlough last week, but said he will do so when senators return.
He said he supports the section of state law that allows residents to use deadly force if attacked in their homes, but urged people to take alternative measures if possible.
Ford said citizens should take the same approach in incidents at a business or other location.
“If you’re outside your home, call the police, please,” the senator said. “And if you’ve got to run, run.”
Ford’s bill is unlikely to win approval for two reasons.
The Legislature is controlled by Republicans, who generally favor gun rights.
And other bills and the state budget are due for consideration in the Senate before a newly filed, controversial bill, said Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where Ford’s bill likely will be assigned.
Martin said he would oppose Ford’s measure.
“I just think it’s an over-the-top reaction as it relates to South Carolina’s law versus Florida’s law,” he said. “The facts of what happened down there are not yet plain.”
Ford knows his bill is unlikely to make it out of committee before the end of the session, so he said he will attempt to force senators to discuss the “Stand Your Ground” provision by attaching amendments to as many judiciary-related bills as possible.
Ford still may not be able to force the issue. The amendments could be ruled non-germane under Senate rules.
The National Rifle Association, which has supported efforts to pass “Stand Your Ground” laws, did not respond to a request for comment.