Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz has proposed a national “Stand Your Ground” law, which would allow American citizens to use deadly force when they believe their life is in danger.
Currently, many states throughout the U.S. have shunned such laws, opting instead for “duty to retreat” laws, which force an individual to make an attempt to flee a life-threatening situation before using lethal force to act in self-defense.
“I became even more convinced that the legal duty to retreat from common law puts the law on the side of the attacker, not the victim,” Gaetz told Fox News Digital, discussing his proposed bill and recent congressional hearings on stand your ground laws.
“And as I’ve gotten to Congress, I don’t believe that the legal duty to retreat as an American ought to be different in Florida and Connecticut and Massachusetts and California,” he said. “I think we ought to have a national reckoning on the duty to retreat, and we ought to extinguish it.”
Gaetz added, “If someone is intending to commit a forcible felony on an American, an American right should be meeting that force with comparable force.”
Currently, at least 28 states have stand your ground laws, while eight states “permit the use of deadly force in self-defense through judicial decisions or jury instructions,” according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who is co-sponsoring the legislation with Gaetz, issued a statement on Twitter saying that he is proud of the proposed bill.
“Every American should have the right to defend themselves and their loved ones against imminent threats to personal safety without the duty to retreat,” Mullen wrote.
Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson has come out in support of the proposed law.
“If someone is breaking into your house, we prefer that you shoot them here in Santa Rosa County,” Johnson said.
“When someone just comes on your property, you can’t kill them, that’s not what ‘Stand Your Ground’ means,” the Florida sheriff added. “‘Stand Your Ground’ means if you are on your property and in your home and someone comes in and threatens you, you can do what you need to do. You don’t have a duty to retreat. You can take care of business.”