The story behind the Stand Your Ground Law, the reason why the law was enacted, is as tragic as the killing of an unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, and of course the NRA has its tentacles all through the law.
The Stand Your Ground Law was conceived because of an event that occurred during the epic hurricane season of 2004. That November, 77-year-old James Workman had moved his family into an RV outside Pensacola after Hurricane Ivan peeled back the roof of their house. One night a stranger tried to force his way into the trailer, and Workman killed him with two shots from a .38 revolver. The stranger was Rodney Cox who had come to Florida to pick up freelance work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, leaving behind in North Carolina his wife and two kids, Corey, 11, and Samantha, 3.
The reason why Rodney Cox was there that night will never be known, what was known is that he was disoriented and had call 911 because he was in distress for some reason.
Workman was never arrested but he did have to spend three long anxiety-filled months, agonizing whether or not he would be charged with murder, but prosecutors decided the two shots he fired were justified, that what he did was protect himself and his wife.
Durell Peaden the senator that had introduced the bill said that 3 months was too long to wait with your life in limbo and said at the time. “Why should you have to hire a lawyer to say, ‘This guy is innocent’?”
Workman was never even arrested.
"Original Senate sponsor Durell Peaden said Tuesday it was crafted after an old man from Pensacola shot an intruder who tried to loot his hurricane-ravaged home," reporters from the Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau wrote in March. Peaden couldn't remember the man's name, but he said he had to hire a lawyer to defend himself.
Workman never hired a lawyer.
"Dennis Baxley, a member of Florida's House of Representatives, says Workman was in legal limbo for weeks," Time magazine wrote. "Even though prosecutors eventually declined to charge Workman, Baxley co-sponsored the bill that would become the 'stand your ground' law.
"'We wanted citizens to know that if they are attacked, the presumption will be with them,' says Baxley."
Lawmakers continue to misconstrue the case. The story was repeated again and again, to reporters and in the halls of the Capitol. It worked. The law passed 39-0 in the Senate and 94-20 in the House, and then it swept across the nation, driven hard by the National Rifle Association, to more than two dozen other states.
But if you really look at the case, you see that the story told by proponents of "stand your ground" is a distortion. And it's being distorted to this day.
What happened on that warm and windy night on the banks of Big Lagoon was a tragedy for everyone involved. But it was not a case that suggested a need for a new law.
Four hurricanes had hit Florida that year, and there was fear about widespread looting (though little took place). In Baxley's view, Floridians who defended themselves or their property with lethal force shouldn't have had to worry about legal repercussions. Baxley, a National Rifle Association (NRA) member and owner of a prosperous funeral business, teamed up with then-GOP state Sen. Durell Peaden to propose what would become known as Stand Your Ground, the self-defense doctrine essentially permitting anyone feeling threatened in a confrontation to shoot their way out.
Or at least that's the popular version of how the law was born. In fact, its genesis traces back to powerful NRA lobbyists and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing policy group. And the law's rapid spread—it now exists in various forms in 26 states—reflects the success of a coordinated strategy, cultivated in Florida, to roll back gun control laws everywhere.
Baxley says he and Peaden lifted the law's language from a proposal crafted by Marion Hammer, a former NRA president and founder of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, a local NRA affiliate.
Weeks later, when the "stand your ground" law was introduced in the Legislature, a reporter asked David Rimmer, the assistant state attorney who decided not to charge Workman, for his opinion. He would not comment for this story because he is a judge now, but he told the Pensacola News Journal in 2005, "I think the law's fine as it is."
But on April 5, 2005, lawmakers pointed to Workman as the Florida House debated the bill. Lawmakers exploited the death of Rodney Cox and the anguish the Workmen’s experienced for the gain of the NRA.
"One of the major reasons I support this bill is for a 72-year-old man laying in bed at night with his 68-year-old wife, trying to sleep, when an intruder came in on them," said Greg Evers, a Republican from Baker. "The man shot the intruder, wounded him, did not fatally kill him. But yet for six months, he wondered if he was going to be charged with shooting the man. Folks, that's not right.
Workman waited 3 months to find out he was not being charged, not 6 months.
Stand Your Ground was shepherded through the Legislature with help from then-state Rep. Marco Rubio and signed into law by Bush on April 26, 2005. It was the "first step of a multi-state strategy," Wayne LaPierre, a long-standing NRA official who is now the group's CEO, told the Washington Post.
In August 2005, in Grapevine, Tex., NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer asked legislators and lobbyists at a closed-door meeting of ALEC’s “Criminal Justice Task Force” to adopt the Florida “Castle Doctrine” bill as an ALEC model bill. The NRA said her pitch “was well received,” and the bill was approved “unanimously.”
At that time, ALEC’s public-private Criminal Justice Task Force was co-chaired by Wal-Mart -–the nation’s largest seller of guns and ammunition. ALEC’s staffer for the task force was Chris Oswald a former “State Liaison” for the NRA.
Corporate representatives and state legislators on ALEC Task Forces have equal votes on proposed model legislation, so the Florida law was ratified by Wal-Mart and its 2005 public sector co-chair, Texas Rep. Ray Allen, along with other state legislators and corporate lobbyists. It was endorsed by a representative of the Koch-funded Heritage Foundation, according to minutes of the meeting issued by ALEC.
Walmart sells the most guns and ammunition, so of course Walmart has a profit motive to ensure that laws are passed that encourages gun violence and the more guns that they sell the more money the gun manufactures have to donate to the NRA, so the NRA can spend more money lobbying for laws that encourage gun violence. You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.
But remember the NRA is a legally sanctioned, government approved terrorist organization. The NRA crafts their very own laws, laws that by their very nature ensure that their terrorist organization is continually funded.
The NRA does fit the definition of a terrorist group; the NRA has “encouraged and enabled the use of violence by facilitating the spread of modern day weapons of mass destruction through instilling fear in politicians and the general populace as a political objective in stopping the rational and reasonable regulation of weapons of mass destruction.” The NRA of promotes gun ownership “to advance an anti-government, quasi-revolutionary ideology” and says “the NRA’s advocacy of violence for ideological reasons places Americans at an unreasonable and unacceptable risk of death.”
So yes the NRA is a legally sanctioned, government approved terrorist organization. The NRA is our own home grown terrorist organization that we have allowed to flourish.