Dubuque Rally Protests Proposed Stand Your Ground in Iowa

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By Adam Carros

DUBUQUE, Iowa -- A vigil in Dubuque Friday night protested the expected proposal for a Stand your Ground law in Iowa.

The stand your ground law became infamous during the Trayvon Martin case in Florida. George Zimmerman was charged with shooting and killing the teen during an altercation while on a neighborhood watch patrol. A jury later cleared Zimmerman of murder charges.

The stand your ground law allows someone to shoot another person in self-defense with no caveats. Iowa's current law requires a person first try to retreat from the threatening situation before allowing "reasonable force". Iowa also allows use of reasonable force to defend a person's home or business.

Protesters at the vigil in Dubuque say stand your ground enables people to shoot first and ask questions later.

"My main concern is that it reenacts the idea of the vigilante," said vigil organizer Richard Fisher. "It puts the law in the hands of each person who wants to take action of the law rather than using police forces."

Proponents of stand your ground argue the law serves as a deterrent to criminals looking to assault someone.

"I'd rather see the burden on the criminal," said Tim Flynn with the Iowa Firearms Coalition. "Meaning if you assault me in a public place, you could be assured that is at all possible, if I have the means to fight back, I am going to fight back right where I stand."

Stand your ground law has stalled in the Iowa legislature in each of the last two legislative sessions.

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