President Barack Obama worked on a self defense bill in Illinois when he was a State Senator here.
The Illinois Review is calling President Obama a hypocrite for questioning Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which helped result in George Zimmerman’s acquittal for shooting Trayvon Martin to death. The conservative website claims that in 2004 -- a year before Florida passed its stand your ground law, Obama co-sponsored a bill strengthening Illinois’s own stand your ground statute.
The bill prohibited civil suits against people who use justifiable force to defend themselves. Here’s Illinois’s definition of self-defense:
A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with either real property (other than a dwelling) or personal property, lawfully in his possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his immediate family or household or of a person whose property he has a legal duty to protect. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
The Illinois law
, which allows the use of deadly force to protect property, is different from the broader Florida law
, which says that a person attacked in public “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force.” In other words, you’re justified in shooting anyone who messes with you, anywhere, any time.
The Illinois Review, however, doesn’t see it that way, writing:
The Obama-sponsored bill (SB 2386) enlarged the state's 1961 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.
Illinois does not have a “stand your ground” law. If one is introduced, we’ll let you know.