Via John Fund, we learn that Barack Obama, as a state legislator, co-sponsored a bill that strengthened his state’s 1961 Stand Your Ground law. The legislation Obama sponsored in 2004 broadened the state’s Stand Your Ground law by shielding the person who was attacked from being sued in civil court by perpetrators or their estates when a “stand your ground” defense is used in protecting his or her person, dwelling or other property.
The bill sailed through the Illinois Senate. The vote was 56 yeas, 0 nays, and 0 present. “Present,” you will recall, was Obama’s preferred voting option when he opposed a bill but was too gutless to go on record with his opposition.
In this case, there was no reason, political or merits-based, to oppose strengthening Stand Your Ground. As Fund points out, citing the Daily Caller:
African Americans benefit from Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground” self-defense law at a rate far out of proportion to their presence in the state’s population, despite an assertion by Attorney General Eric Holder that repealing ’stand your ground’ would help African Americans.
A third of Florida’s Stand Your Ground claims in homicide cases are made by African-Americans, a rate nearly double the black percentage of the state’s population. The majority of those claims have been successful, a success rate that exceeds that of Florida whites.
Thus, the merits of Stand Your Ground haven’t changed; only the politics have. But that’s easily sufficient for our cynical president to abandon his ground.