Target: Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Goal: Help protect innocent people from being murdered by reforming existing self-defense laws.
So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws that disproportionately target people of color could soon be reformed in Texas to narrow down the circumstances in which a person has legal coverage to use deadly force in self defense–if a bill by State Representative Garnet Coleman becomes law. This is a vital update that could save many lives. Demand that the governor of Texas sign the bill into law.
Texas’ existing Stand Your Ground law allows people to use deadly force if they perceive any threat to themselves in their home, car, or building of employment. Such legal reliance on someone’s perception of threat routinely becomes an issue because most people have engrained unconscious biases that make them perceive people of color to be more dangerous than white people.
This, obviously, results in people of color being shot and killed much more often with the current Stand Your Ground law. Representative Coleman’s proposal would try to address this issue by removing perception from the equation. In order to be justified in using deadly force, a person would have to be unable to safely flee the area, and the target would need to be actively harming or demonstrating an intention to harm someone.
Stand Your Ground laws were what let George Zimmerman get away with murdering Trayvon Martin in Florida with no legal culpability. Sign the petition below to demand that Texas Governor Greg Abbott sign Representative Coleman’s proposal into law when it arrives on his desk.
Dear Governor Abbott,
I am writing you today regarding House Bill 1627, a piece of legislation introduced by Representative Garnet Coleman. This proposal provides a much-needed update to your state’s self-defense laws.
As it currently stands, your “Stand Your Ground” law is inherently flawed. Its reliance on a perception of threat is misguided and does not take into account psychological realities that are ugly, but there. Countless studies have been conducted that show that people, without knowing it, perceive people of color, especially men of color, as more dangerous than white people. This is a fact. Consequently, relying on perception of threat in your laws will replicate those biases in who becomes most affected by them—in this case, it means that Texans of color are disproportionately shot and killed, even when they are not actually presenting a threat.
Racism is in your laws and it needs to be removed. House Bill 1627 will, at least partially, do that. I demand that you sign it into law when it, hopefully, passes your state legislature and arrives on your desk for approval.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: DrunkDriver via Wikimedia Commons