U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., joined President Barack Obama in calling for review of so-called Stand Your Ground laws in states around the country after the acquittal last weekend of George Zimmerman in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., last year. McCain made the call during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” Sunday.
“I can ... see that Stand Your Ground law may be something that needs to be reviewed by the Florida Legislature or any other legislature that has passed such legislation,” McCain said about the laws that came into sharp focus in the wake of verdict in the Zimmerman trial. McCain added he is confident his home state will review the legislation because it is very controversial.
In states with Stand Your Ground laws on the books, an individual is legally allowed to use force in the name of self-defense without necessarily trying to retreat from a confrontation. Although Zimmerman’s attorneys did not cite the Stand Your Ground theory in his defense against a second-degree murder charge in the killing of Martin, Stand Your Ground laws have come under scrutiny because of concerns they might give rise to violent confrontations similar to the one between Zimmerman and Martin, as NBC News reported.
Obama and other political leaders also have spoken out to suggest a review of the laws. “[F]or those who resist that idea that we should think about something like these ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, I’d just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?” Obama said recently. “And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, criticized Obama for these remarks during a speech in Iowa this weekend, blasting the president for using “every opportunity that he can to go after our Second Amendment right to bear arms,” according to CNN.
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In contrast, McCain in his interview indicated he did not share Cruz’s opinion: “Isn’t this time for us to try to come together? Isn’t it time for America to come together in light of several weeks of what is really exacerbating relations between elements of our society? I’d rather have a message of coming together and discussing these issues rather than condemning.” McCain added, “I just respect his view, but I don’t frankly see the connection.”
Obama’s comments continued to reverberate among African-American leaders Sunday, NBC News reported.
On CNN, McCain also commented on a number of controversial topics, as he expressed his disapproval of the recent Rolling Stone cover featuring the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. In addition, he discussed the situation in Syria. “The fact is there’s no United States leadership in the Middle East. There’s a vacuum there. And when there’s a vacuum, bad people fill it. ... A year from now, there’ll be another 100,000 who have died, and we sit by and watch this happen -- and don’t think that lesson is lost on all the other countries in the region -- and it’s a disgrace.”