by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef’s latest Forbes column focuses on an important court case involving a North Carolina incident.
Since American citizens have the right to keep and bear arms (not just law enforcement officials, as gun control advocates maintain), it would seem to follow that they’re entitled to use their weapons when they are threatened. …
… To codify that right and prevent people from being put on trial for reasonable, defensive gun use when a prosecutor thinks they might instead have retreated or fled, 24 states have enacted “stand your ground” statutes. Among them is North Carolina, but a recent case there shows that when prosecutors and judges want to convict a man for using his gun, the “stand your ground” law can be trampled upon. …
… Lee’s case has been appealed to the Supreme Court of North Carolina and Cato Institute has filed an amicus brief. In it, Camden Webb and Ilya Shapiro contend, “The outcome of this case is important not just because of the injustice done to Mr. Lee, but because allowing the Court of Appeals decision to stand would threaten effective invocation of no-retreat laws throughout the nation, and weaken a Second Amendment right to bear arms that the U.S. Supreme Court has only recently begun to reassert.” They’re right.
Prosecutors and judges often have a bias against those who own and use firearms. They are happy to find excuses for whittling away at the right of self-defense any time it involves a gun. Juries are frequently sympathetic to such defendants, but they need to be properly instructed on the law.