The Republican Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, has once again declared his devotion to the NRA by publicly announcing support for a “stand your ground” law to be passed in his state.
Gov. Pete Ricketts says he’s willing to work on passage of a “stand your ground” law in Nebraska.
On his monthly call-in show, the recently re-elected Republican told a caller from Omaha that he’d be open to working with a state legislator in introducing and passing such a law.
Pete Ricketts is no stranger to sucking up to the NRA. Earlier this year, he chose to speak at the NRA’s annual convention, where he painted the NRA as a victim:
Saying the National Rifle Association had been “vilified and unfairly attacked,” Gov. Pete Ricketts avowed his support for Second Amendment rights in a speech at the association’s annual meeting.
The governor spoke Friday at the NRA’s forum in Dallas to a crowd that earlier in the day heard from President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and others.
And minimized the outcry from the public about gun violence:
“When we see events, tragedies, like in Parkland, we all know that no parent should have to endure that, no child should be endangered at their school. Those are tragedies,” Ricketts said. “But the other side is using that to try to take away our rights by focusing on the wrong thing.”
Make no mistake, Pete Ricketts support for a ‘stand your ground” law in Nebraska is not just about a personal belief he might have. The NRA has made “stand your ground” laws a top priority for over a decade now, and they have been spending millions to do so:
Since Florida adopted its law in 2005, the NRA has aggressively pursued adoption of stand-your-ground laws elsewhere as part of a broader agenda to increase gun-carrying rights it believes are rightly due citizens under the 2nd Amendment.
To gain attention and clout at the state level, the NRA has ponied up money and offers endorsements to legislators from both parties. The NRA and the NRA Political Victory Fund, its political action committee, have donated about $2.6 million to state-level political campaigns, committees and individual politicians since 2003, according to records compiled by the National Institute on Money and State Politics.
And ambitious politicians take note that the NRA is heavily invested and involved in congressional races.
The reason why the NRA pushes “stand your ground” laws so heavily is that “stand your ground” laws help sell guns. A study by the Department of Policy Analysis & Management at Cornell University concluded that these laws “led to an increase in the demand for legal firearms”.
What else do “stand your ground” laws increase, besides gun sales? “Stand your ground” laws increase homicides:
A new study in the Journal of Human Resources reveals that the controversial Stand Your Ground laws in states across the U.S. contribute to 600 additional homicides a year.
This news comes just as the nation learned that 26 children or teens have died in Florida alone under the “kill at will” self-defense law.
According to Mark Hoestra, co-author of the study: We asked what happened to homicide rates in states that passed these laws between 2000 and 2010, compared to other states over the same time period. We found that homicide rates in states with a version of the Stand Your Ground law increased by an average of 8 percent over states without it — which translates to roughly 600 additional homicides per year. These homicides are classified by police as criminal homicides, not as justifiable homicides.
There have been a couple of high profile homicides attributed to the “stand your ground” law in Florida.
In July of 2018, the shooting and killing of Markeis McGlockton in a Circle A parking lot, due to a dispute over a parking lot space, was captured on video. The shooter claimed that he was acting in accordance with Florida’s ‘stand your ground” law, and the local sheriff agreed with him:
Dan Drake looked up in alarm on July 19 when he heard the gunshots from the direction of the Circle A Food Store, where his teenage daughter had headed by foot. He relaxed slightly when she came running back down the sidewalk. Someone just got shot up on the corner, she said.
Mr. Drake thought it was a gang shooting – not unheard of in this Clearwater, Fla., neighborhood known as Greenwood. He then heard that a black man he knew by sight, Markeis McGlockton, had been shot and killed by an older white man, Michael Drejka, over a parking space argument. Mr. McGlockton was killed after pushing Mr. Drejka, who had confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend about parking in a handicapped spot.
“Markeis acted like any man would, protecting his family, and for that he was killed,” says Drake, who is black. “I don’t care about race. If you have the loaded gun in your pocket, you’re looking for trouble.”
For his part, Drejka has told local reporters that he feared for his life and acted within what he understood to be the constraints of the law.
The local sheriff initially agreed with Drejka. Under the state’s so-called stand your ground law, the sheriff said, Drejka’s role in instigating the conflict didn’t matter if he felt that the shove suggested a reasonable threat to his life.
The state attorney disagreed, however, filing manslaughter charges on Aug. 13. Drejka pleaded not guilty.
And, of course, there was the shooting and killing of unarmed Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, which first drew the nation’s attention to Florida’s “stand your ground” law, after the shooter was not initially arrested due to the law:
“Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self-defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony,” Lee wrote in a memo posted on the city’s website. “By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based of the facts and circumstances they had at the time.”
A number of law enforcement officials have voiced criticism of “stand your ground” laws for reasons similar to what was given by Miami Police Chief John Timoney:
But John F. Timoney, Miami’s police chief, called the bill unnecessary and dangerous. Chief Timoney, who has successfully pushed his police officers to use less deadly force, said many people, including children, could become innocent victims. The bill could make gun owners, including drivers with road rage or drunken sports fans who get into fights leaving ball games, assume they have “total immunity,” he said.
“Whether it’s trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn’t want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house,” Chief Timoney said, “you’re encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn’t be used.”
“Stand your ground laws” are not good for the community. They have been shown to lead to an increase in homicides. But, for Republican politicians like Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, that doesn’t matter. The wishes of the NRA, and increased gun sales, are more important.