Bob Barr

Obama, Holder, and other critics of Stand Your Ground laws are, in effect, adopting the notion that it is not the responsibility of the individual to defend himself or herself against attack, but rather the government’s duty to do so for them. In this worldview, the individual is supposed meekly to “back away” from a confrontation and let the State, through police intervention -- one supposes – take over. This is the European cultural view -- a philosophy very much at odds with that on which our nation was founded, and which served us well until recently, when the gun-control crowd began its push for cultural recognition.

We are a nation that was founded precisely on the notion of taking a stand and repelling aggressors who sought to take away what was rightfully ours. Ours was not a nation that retreated when the British sent their ships to our shores. We always have protected our homeland and defended it from harm. “The west was won,” not by retreating and backing away from confrontations with adverse forces, but rather by meeting and overcoming those challenges. It is the quintessential American way. And it is one reason America is the sole remaining world superpower and European nations are not.

This same principle is at work in Stand Your Ground laws across America; laws reflecting the reality that retreating when facing a violent assailant rarely, if ever, carries the day for the victim.

Moreover, Stand Your Ground laws remove the confusion over when, and how, citizens may legally defend themselves in situations of peril. It takes much of the “legal guesswork” out of situations where every second counts, and second-guessing could lead to extreme bodily harm, or even death.

Rather than weaken Americans’ right to self-defense, we should be strengthening such a fundamental right, and trust the courts to adjudicate and render justice when and where needed. Europeans may think otherwise -- as apparently do Obama, Holder, McCain and others here in America. However, most Americans would, I suspect, put their faith not in European pacifism, but in the understanding and resolve of the American people and our forbearers.


Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.