Springfield City Council to Consider Opposing Massachusetts "Stand Your Ground" Proposal
Tonight the Springfield City Council will vote on a resolution opposing a proposed Massachusetts law that would expand residents' right to use deadly force for self-defense. Massachusetts is among more than half of the states in the U.S. that gives residents the right to use deadly force if attacked within their homes. But the proposed legislation would make deadly force for self-defense lawful in any public space.
President of Springfield City Council James Ferrera says he hopes to send a clear message to Beacon Hill that the measure would reverse the work of Springfield's non-violence campaigns.
"It's just taking a step back -- and in the wrong direction. For all the good things and the positive things that we've done to try to keep our guns away from kids and young adults."
Ferrera says the proposed legislation would make it difficult to define any force as unlawful -- especially in cases without witnesses. Massachusetts State Senator Stephen Brewer says until recently the legislation he proposed five years ago had received little attention. He says the debate's heated up since the recent controversy in Florida over Treyvon Martin, a young black man who was killed by a citizen who claimed self defense under that state's "Stand Your Ground" Law.
"If the debate can turn to the debate on making our communities safer and respecting our fellow citizens and lessening the violence in our society -- then that's a healthy debate to have."
Governor Deval Patrick has already vowed to veto the bill. Brewer says he doesn't expect the bill to be voted on this year. If the Springfield resolution passes tonight, Council President Ferrera says it could be forwarded to the legislature tomorrow.