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Senators bicker over state stand your ground laws

WASHINGTON — Trayvon Martin’s mother told a panel of senators Tuesday that state stand your ground self-defense laws do not work and must be amended, reviving the politically charged gun control issue.

Democrats who hold majority power in the Senate and are trying to keep it supported Sybrina Fulton’s call. Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said the matter should be left to the states that passed the laws.

“The states are doing quite well … without our interference,” Rep. Louie Gohmert testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Said Cruz: “This is not about politicking. This is not about inflaming racial tensions. This is about the right of everyone to protect themselves and protect their families.” Cruz made reference to statistics he said which show that blacks cite stand your ground laws at least as often as whites.

But race and politics were woven into the event and in the broader public policy debate. There’s little willingness in Congress to weigh in on the laws of 22 states that have some form of the policy. These laws generally cancel a person’s duty to retreat in the face of a serious physical attack.