In an effort to bring an end to the controversial Stand Your Ground laws nationwide, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has put out a video reenactment of the night Trayvon Martin was killed.
The nonprofit group uses the actual audio from the 911 calls that both George Zimmerman and a witness phoned in that night. People are depicted in hoodies lying on the ground after the sound of a gunshot is heard. The names are displayed of the more than 20 states that have Stand Your Ground laws in place.
The group has also launched a website and a petition asking people to urge their state lawmakers to “oppose this immoral legislation.”
“Stand Your Ground laws have essentially legalized murder. With this PSA, we hope to add to the nationwide push to repeal these immoral laws,” said CSGV Communications Director Ladd Everitt.
The Stand Your Ground law allows a person to use deadly force as a means of self-defense, with no obligation to first attempt to retreat. After the Zimmeran shooting of Martin in February 2012, who was an unarmed African American teenager, the laws received national attention and much protest.
Zimmerman wasn’t arrested initially because he used the law as justification for killing Martin. He was eventually tried and last month received a not guilty verdict of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
The National Rifle Association stood in support of the Stand Your Ground law and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, which lost some of its corporate backers after its role in pushing Stand Your Ground laws came to light.
The Dream Defenders, a group of student activists, have been advocating against the law and staged a 31 day protest. It turned out to be longest ever sit-in at the Florida Capitol. They tried to get Gov. Rick Scott to have a special session to repeal the law but to no avail.
The CSGV ad debuts one month after President Barack Obama’s most recent comments on the Martin shooting and the Zimmerman verdict. “You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son,” he said. “Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.