Sen. Dick Durbin greets the family of Trayvon Martin at Tuesday's Senate hearings on "stand your ground" laws.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin held a hearing Tuesday on state "stand your ground" laws.
The hearing was held in light of the controversial death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted Martin's death in July, but Martin's supporters say Zimmerman profiled and followed him because Martin was black.
"Stand Your Ground" laws allow individuals to use lethal force to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger, even if a safe retreat is available.
Durbin, who is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the "laws often go too far in encouraging confrontations to escalate into deadly violence" and are "resulting in unnecessary tragedies."
Twenty-six states have passed similar laws since 2005, which Durbin believes also increases racial disparities in the justice system.
Witnesses testified on two panels, including Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and lawmakers such as Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez.