UPDATE: 9:00 pm EST
Democrats backed off of their effort Tuesday to offer a “Trayvon amendment” to pressure states to drop their stand-your-ground laws after learning it was likely to be ruled out of order under the evening’s rules for debate on the House floor.
Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, said he will still try to force a debate at a more “appropriate” time in the future, saying action is demanded by the case of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who police said was shot dead in a street encounter with a neighborhood watch volunteer.
The Ellison amendment would have docked federal criminal justice grants to states that have stand-your-ground laws, which allow residents to use deadly force to respond to an attack without first having to retreat.
House Democrats announced Tuesday that they will offer an amendment push to overturn Stand-Your-Ground self-defense laws in states like Florida.
The amendment, which would withhold some grants from states that have such laws, will come as part of the House’s debate on the Commerce Department spending bill.
According to Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona:
“Shoot-first’ laws have already cost too many lives. In Florida alone, deaths due to self-defense have tripled since the law was enacted. Federal money shouldn’t be spent supporting states with laws that endanger their own people.”
Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota added:
“This is no different than withholding transportation funds from states that don’t enforce seat-belt laws.”
Grijalva and Ellison are the two Democrats who offered the legislation.
Florida’s law, which allows residents to use force in response to an attack without first having to retreat, has come under scrutiny after the nationally polarizing death of teenager Trayvon Martin. George Zimmermann, a neighborhood watch volunteer, has been charged with murder in the case.