Controversial “Stand Your Ground” Proposal Returns to Iowa

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Rep. Matt Windschitl brings back controversial ALEC proposal one local prosecutor called the ‘license to kill’ statute

Des Moines, IA – Yesterday State Representative Matt Windschitl introduced the controversial “Stand Your Ground” legislation, based on a model bill originally promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The bill, House File 57 (HF57), would allow Iowans to take a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ mentality that has been linked to increased homicide rates where it has been enacted. Rep. Windschitl proposed similar legislation last year, and may benefit from its passage as the proprietor of a gun store in Missouri Valley.

“Stand your ground laws are dangerous, and the research backs it up,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “We already have the right to defend ourselves; this goes far beyond that. In fact, one local prosecutor called it the ‘license to kill’ statute. We need our elected officials to focus on keeping our communities safe, creating jobs and strengthening our state, not putting us in harm’s way.”

“Stand Your Ground” legislation and ALEC gained increased exposure and infamy last year after the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. In the aftermath of the shooting, ALEC lost more than 40 corporate sponsors and disbanded the task force responsible for promoting “Stand Your Ground.”

When the bill was proposed last year by Rep. Windschitl, Iowans reacted strongly in opposition. Although it passed the Iowa House of Representatives on February 29, 2012, it did not become law. Research now demonstrates that “Stand Your Ground” laws are linked with increased homicide.

HF57 is awaiting action before the House Judiciary Committee; track it by clicking here, and see the similarities to the original ALEC model legislation in the comparison below.

Progress Iowa is a statewide, non-partisan issue advocacy group made up of over 2,500 members promoting progressive values and working for a better and more just Iowa.



Eastern Iowa authorities against ‘stand your ground’

“A person already has the right to defend themselves or others, if needed,” said Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden. “The ‘stand your ground’ legislation goes far past that. I refer to it as the ‘license to kill’ statute, because that’s exactly what it does.”

House File 57:

Iowa Public Radio: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Linked to Increase in Homicides

House File 57 Comparison to ALEC legislation: