By Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania has a law similar to Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. A professor of criminal law in Philadelphia has concerns of more violence in light of the Trayvon Martin shooting death.
Under the “Stand Your Ground” law (Pennsylvania’s law is called the Castle Doctrine), you’re not required to retreat when faced with an imminent threat, which you believe is life-threatening.
Drexel law professor Donald Tibbs says this opens a dangerous legal can of worms.
“We have to be careful. We’re educating the public, right, we’re educating the public on how to use more violence.”
Professor Donald Tibbs thinks people who carry guns will now use this as an excuse to shoot first and ask questions later.
“I’m a little bit concerned about how the public is being educated and I’m hopeful that the states will reconsider passing these types of laws.”
He says, like in the Trayvon Martin case, the aggressor cannot claim self-defense if he gets into trouble, which is reportedly what happened with George Zimmerman.
“So, you can’t pick a fight, then be losing that fight and then claim you needed to use deadly force to defend yourself.”
He says when defending yourself, you have the right to use like and equal force, meaning bringing a gun to a knife fight is allowed, since both are deadly weapons. Not so for fists, unless it’s a David vs. Goliath matchup.