Sen. John McCain is backing President Barack Obama's call for "stand your ground" laws in Florida and other states to be re-examined in the wake of the George Zimmerman case.
"The 'stand your ground' law may be something that may need to be reviewed by the Florida legislature or any other legislature that has passed such legislation," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, two days after Obama discussed Zimmerman's acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
The Arizona Republican said he thinks the self-defense law should be reviewed in his home state too. "I'm confident that the members of the Arizona legislature will, because it is very controversial legislation," McCain said. Florida and Arizona are among 30 states with "stand your ground" laws on the books.
On Friday, Obama held a somber press conference at the White House to discuss the Zimmerman case, which is currently under review by the Justice Department for possible civil rights violations.
The president hinted that he didn't expect the review would lead to federal charges against Zimmerman.
"Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code, and law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels—not at the federal level," Obama said. "The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The jurors were properly instructed that in a case such as this reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury has spoken, that's how our system works."
But the commander in chief called for a review of the controversial "stand your ground" laws.
"And for those who resist that idea—that we should think about something like these 'stand your ground' laws—I just ask people to consider: If Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?" the president said.
"What I got out of the president's statement, which I thought was very impressive, is that we need to have more conversation in America," he said. "I need to talk to more of my Hispanic organizations in my state. I need to talk to more African-American organizations."
McCain's support was in stark contrast to fellow GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's reaction to Obama's remarks.
“It is not surprising that the president uses, it seems, every opportunity that he can to go after our Second Amendment right to bear arms,” the Texas senator said Friday in Iowa. “This president and this administration has a consistent disregard for the Bill of Rights.”
- Politics & Government
- George Zimmerman