As I noted in this morning’s must-reads, House Democrats had hoped to use the federal legislative process to manipulate state gun laws. To that end, Dems proposed the so-called “Trayvon Amendment,” named for the Florida teen who died earlier this year after a reported scuffle with a neighborhood watch captain. The amendment, proposed by Minnesota Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison would have withheld federal criminal justice grant funding from states that have stand-your-ground laws on the books. But as quickly as the amendment was proposed, Ellison withdrew it from consideration today after learning it likely violated existing rules for debate on the House floor.
But don’t think this is the last you’ll hear of the so-called “Trayvon Amendment.” Ellison says he will still try to force a debate on the measure at a more “appropriate” time in the future.
Stand-your-ground law allow residents to use deadly force in responding to an attack without first having to retreat. Ellison sees them a different way: “Shoot-first laws make prosecutions harder because they presume the use of deadly force is reasonable,” Mr. Ellison said on the House floor Tuesday.
The funds withheld from states with existing stand-your-ground laws come from the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, which are used to fund a variety of programs, including law enforcement, drug treatment, jails and prosecutor’s offices. According to Ellison, nearly half of all states now have stand-your-ground laws.