“Stand your ground” in N.C.: Support, but a racial divide

The “Stand Your Ground” law, in which a person is legally entitled to fight back with deadly force if they feel threatened, even if they could retreat instead, is supported 50% to 45% nationally, according to the Washington Post/ABC News poll.

In North Carolina, which has such a law, respondents in the Elon University Poll are even more emphatic in support of the law — 54% to 38%.

But it isn’t as clear cut as it seems.

The N.C. General Assembly passed the law as part of the “Castle Doctrine,” which provides protection from criminal and civil penalties for those who use guns to defend themselves in their homes, cars and workplaces. It is under the spotlight now because of the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

But there is a distinct racial divide over the issue. African Americans oppose the “Stand Your Ground” law, 64%, while whites only 32% of whites oppose it. Flipping it over, 58% of whites support the laws, and 27% of blacks do.

The same is true nationally. From the The Washington Post/ABC News survey. Nearly seven in 10 blacks oppose “Stand Your Ground” laws, which hold that people are legally entitled to fight back with deadly force if they feel threatened, even if they could retreat instead. Most whites — 55 percent — support such laws.

— John Robinson

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