Should NY Senator George Maziarz withdraw his â??stand your groundâ?? legislation?
By Jim Kenyon
Mon, 09 Apr 2012 16:59:41 GMT — Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane) is under fire to withdraw his "stand your ground" legislation.Senate Democrats are asking Maziarz to withdraw the bill that would give individuals the right to use deadly force to stop a serious crime.Maziarz is defending his legislation. He says individuals have the right to defend themselves if they feel threatened."Individuals, in their homes, on their own property, in their cars, have every right to protect themselves, now if they feel threatened, legitimately threatened. They have a right to protect themselves, this law is not about protecting vigilantes, or people who take the law into their own hands," said Maziarz on wgrz.com.Maziarz' bill would amend Article 35 of the State Penal Law, which outlines the justified use of force in self defense. According to Dewitt Police Chief Eugene Conway, Article 35 is a "complicated" law that differentiates between the use of "physical force and deadly physical force." He says there are three qualifications in order for a person to use force to defend him or herself. He said it must be "authorized by law, reasonable, and necessary."Chief Conway says the terms "reasonable and necessary" are subjective, so the law requires a court or Grand Jury to review the incident and apply it to Article 35. The law states that you must "reasonably believe that the other person is using or about to use deadly physical force."When it comes to deadly physical force, Chief Conway says the law requires you to retreat from the situation with some exceptions. Those exceptions include whether you in your own dwelling, whether you are a police officer, and whether you believe the other person is "committing or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape, forcible criminal sexual act or robbery."The request from Senate Democrats for Maziarz to withdraw the legislation comes just two months after a Florida teen, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Florida has a similar "stand your ground" law and Zimmerman has not been arrested.Maziarz says his opponents are pushing their political agendas by using the Trayvon Martin case.Senate Democrats are not the only ones asking Maziarz to withdraw the bill. The New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) group has started an online letter-writing campaign demanding that Maziarz withdraw "his dangerous legislation."The NYAGV letter reads; "State Senator Maziarz, I'm asking you to withdraw your legislation, S 281, the "Stand Your Ground" bill. This shoot first, ask questions later approach helped kill Trayvon Martin and is preventing justice from being served. New York doesn't need this type of dangerous legislation. Don't let Trayvon's injustice happen here in New York. Please withdraw your bill, S 281, immediately. Thank you."Maziarz proposed Senate Bill #281 in 2008, but it has not gone anywhere."I introduced legislation in 2008 that gives rights to victims of crime who use deadly force to protect themselves," says Maziarz in the Democrat and Chronicle. "The measure has never moved out of committee, but some have sensed a political opportunity in light of Floridaâ??s â??Stand your groundâ?? law and are calling for the withdrawal of the bill. Letâ??s learn the facts and then decide what to do." Do you think Maziarz should withdraw his bill? What do you think about "stand your ground" laws? Leave your comments below.
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