WASHINGTON, August 29, 2013 — Last week a Baltimore County lawmaker announced that he plans to introduce legislation during the 2014 Maryland General Assembly to bring a “Stand Your Ground Law” to the state.
Del. Pat McDonough says that it is time to reverse state laws that he believes do not protect innocent people.
McDonough is hoping to replace Maryland’s “Duty to Retreat” law. The “Duty to Retreat” law says that outside of a person’s home, before using deadly force in self defense, he has a duty to retreat or avoid danger if it is within his power to do so.
McDonough’s stated in his release, “A substantial minority of states have laws imposing the duty to retreat. In my opinion, the duty to retreat is the weakest form of protection for crime victims and their families.”
“This is really a debate about pro-criminal legislation, which I think ‘duty to retreat’ is pro-criminal. Or, pro-crime victim legislation, which I think ‘stand your ground is,’” McDonough said.
The conservative delegate argues that a stand your ground law is needed due to the continued practice of releasing criminals early from prisons, lenient sentencing and the problem of youth mobs traveling into safe neighborhoods.
Stand your ground laws have been a widely debated topic following the acquittal by a Florida jury of George Zimmerman, for the shooting and death of the 17 year old Trayvon Martin. The Zimmerman/ Martin trial was argued as a self defense case, not a stand your ground defense.
McDonough acknowledged that passing such a law in the democratically controlled state will be extremely difficult.
“The reputation of the House Judiciary Committee regarding stonewalling good legislation promoting public safety is well-known,” McDonough said in his statement. “This panel, heavily loaded with criminal defense lawyers, abolished capital punishment and passed an unconstitutional gun control law.”
A stand your ground law is a self defense law that gives a person the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to avoid a dangerous situation.
Currently 46 states have adopted laws that a person has no duty to retreat when their home is attacked and 22 of those states go a step further and do not require the duty to retreat outside of the home as well.
Pat McDonough has been a Republican member of Maryland’s House of Delegates since 2003, he also served in the House as a Democrat between 1979 and 1983.
McDonough has brought attention to himself for continually taking conservative stands in a liberal leaning state.
McDonough is known for his continual push to make English the official language of the state of Maryland and when a state senator called for the state to apologize for its role in slavery, McDonough was one of 6 dissenting votes calling the bill “a superficial gesture designed to make people feel guilty” and “I don’t think apologies solve anything.”
In 2012 McDonough made headlines when he claimed that Baltimore was being “terrorized by mobs of black youths”.
He again referenced “youth mobs” in his statement last week explaining what he sees as a need for a stand your ground law. “Roving youth mobs in Baltimore’s Harbor area and usually safe neighborhoods, like Little Italy, are becoming common place”.
Over the past 6 weeks there have been a series of violent assaults in Little Italy, which has caused many of the residents and business owners to contribute to a fund in order to hire a private security firm to patrol the streets.