July 21st, 2013
10:26 AM ET
8 years ago

McCain calls for review of 'stand your ground' laws

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain, who lost in 2008 to the first African-American elected to the White House, said President Barack Obama's speech about race relations was "very impressive" and agreed that "stand your ground" laws should be re-examined, including those in his own state of Arizona.

"The 'stand your ground' law may be something that may needs to be reviewed by the Florida legislature or any other legislature that has passed such legislation," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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Arizona is one of 30 states that have such laws, which give individuals certain legal rights in cases of self-defense. The law in Florida has come under scrutiny recently during the trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin last year during a confrontation.

Asked if he thinks Arizona should review the law, McCain said: "Yes, I do."

"And I'm confident that the members of the Arizona legislature will, because it is very controversial legislation," he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

McCain said he didn't agree with fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who argued Friday the Obama administration is calling for a review of "stand your ground" laws as a way to further its agenda against Second Amendment rights.

"Isn't it time for America to come together?" McCain asked. "I'd rather have a message of coming together and discussing these issues rather than condemning.

"I respect (Cruz's) view, but I don't frankly see the connection," he added.

Protesters stand up to 'stand your ground,' but laws likely here to stay

McCain said that while American society has made progress on racial issues, the recent tensions over the Trayvon Martin case have "highlighted the differences that remain."

"What I got out of the president's statement, which I thought was very impressive, is that we need to have more conversation in America," he said. "I need to talk to more of my Hispanic organizations in my state. I need to talk to more African-American organizations."

The longtime senator pointed to the economic disparities between African-Americans and other demographic groups, citing the city of Detroit, which he called a "wasteland," as an example.

"What's the majority of the population in the city of Detroit? Who suffers the most? Obviously we know the answer," he said of the city that filed for bankruptcy last week.

The main point that can be drawn from the president's speech on Friday, McCain said, was that "we've still got a long way to go."

"And I think the president very appropriately highlighted a lot of that...as only the president of the United States can," he said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. John Spatta

    Whats taking McCain so long to change his R to a D

    July 21, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. Bessy

    This man amazes me because sometimes he actually gets it right. Not too often, but with this speech he did.
    The problem in the George Zimmerman situation is, it wasn't a case of " stand your ground ", it was a case of him not staying in his car where he belonged. This whole thing would never have happened if he just did that.

    July 21, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. ST

    Stand Your Ground is a ridiculous law. If soldiers in war zones, who are in danger all the time are not allowed to pull the trigger whenever they decide to do so , how come a normal civilian living a normal life is allowed? I can't understand those who put such a law, what were they thinking?

    July 21, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. zago

    Sometimes you are just asking whether there still exists this breed in the GOP. Sen McCain deserves our respect and he's certainly a decent man who more often than not knows how to put his country before anything else!

    July 21, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    McCain has become a fool.

    July 21, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Tom1940

    I'm glad that CNN is giving so much coverage to Sen. J. McCain now. When next up for re-election, I believe this American Hero and Politician will be going home and into retirement. Either voluntarily, or not. His final "hurrah" and commentary as being representative of a fictional part of the Republican Party – "Moderate", which unfortunately still believes in the notion there can be "collegiality" – "hands across the aisle", etc., (also an idea that expired upon the election of Dem's in 2008) should be given "press coverage" and "media exposure" as a dated, failed and rapidly declining "notion" and relevant to GOP Political Strategy. Time to move on and leave Senator McCain to be part of history that no longer exists, but still is heard, smiled at as being either the musings or recollections of an old man and politician commenting about "former" days, and how things were done.

    July 21, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. tiredofviolence

    Yes, it's "time for America to come together" and kick the gun habit. We need more politicians like McCain who aren't afraid to put America before party.

    July 21, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Peace

    @ Bessy
    If you understand why Zimmerman was acquitted then you will know it was about Stand Your Ground law though it was not mentioned during the trial. If you listened to one of the Jurors who was interviewed by Anderson Cooper (CNN), she said they didn't find him guilty because of self-defense, which falls under Florida law, which is Stand Your Ground.

    July 21, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    Republicans pass gun laws to shoot where ever when ever you can, Democrats pass guns laws to protect human life result we have thousands of guns laws in the books

    July 21, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Debbie in Arizona

    This is the Senator McCain that I voted for years ago. Unfortunately, he only shows up occasionally.

    July 21, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Burt

    I truly don't know how to take Sen McCain. At one moment I believe he is an honourable man who genuinely cares for the well being of every citizen of the country and the world for that matter irregardless of party lines. Then on the other, a man that would plunge the country into more needless military conflict. Can anyone say 'Catharsis'?

    July 21, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Tyr

    I've been so let down with how conservatives and republicans have responded to not only the Zimmerman verdict, but the racial issues surrounding it, that I've felt disillusioned and a little cynical about the future. Every comment section that I've seen is filled with both denial of race being a significant problem and racially charged language from the same side! McCains response was a breath of fresh air. Thank you senator McCain.

    July 21, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Justin

    This is the McCain I liked and respected. Had he been like this in 2008 instead of morphing into a faux neocon I would have voted for him instead of Obama.

    July 21, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Get Real

    Plain and simple people are going to protect their families and possessions by all means necessary since waiting for the "LAW" does not always work.

    July 21, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. akwildflower

    Excellent response. Glad you had the guts to say it – someone desperately needed to. We are Americans first... Democrats, republicans, etc., second – or third... You get the point. We need to talk, and get real, rather than pointing fingers and assigning labels.

    July 21, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Tony

    If the law cannot be enforced fairly and evenly, then it should be changed. In the Florida case, no one seems to notice that Zimmerman was not the one who stood his ground. Zimmerman got out of his car with a gun, then followed Martin, who was not armed. Zimmerman told the police dispatcher on tape that he was following Martin, lost him, was told not to follow him, then went on to have a fight with Martin anyway. If the "stand your ground" law protects the person who did not stand his ground, then the law is misnamed and should be changed.

    July 21, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Olim

    This is the first time when McCain has said something logical.

    July 21, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. labman57

    State legislators who created and/or continue to support "Stand Your Grand" laws are essentially sanctioning murder by vigilantes and are therefore abetting said murderers after the fact.

    July 21, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. kirstenquigley

    Thank you, Senator McCain. While I'm a long-time Democrat, I want to express my sincere thanks for your upstanding call to review the "Stand your Ground" laws.

    July 21, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Raph

    @Bessy – there were two parties involved and two parties made mistakes leading to the incident. We might go even further with the "what ifs" and start including immediately family members who made decisions that directly led to it.

    @Peace – No self-defense and SYG are NOT the same under Florida law. The difference with the completely separate STY is that you DO NOT have to retreat if you are in fear of your life or the life of another person. Example: I'm at the convenience store and some dude in a hoodie comes in and puts a gun to the clerk's head or another customer to rob the place or anything else then SYG allows me to intervene and save those people. Without SYG my gun would have to stay hidden and I would have to allow this person to kill the others while I watch helplessly.

    Movie theater shooting? SAME THING. SYG would allow me to take the joker out versus laying on the ground hoping a bullet doesn't get me or whomever I am with .... get it? SYG does NOT allow you to just go up and start shooting someone, etc.

    GZ, as believed by the jury, did not pull his weapon out until a physical altercation began ... that makes a world of difference, especially in our CJS.

    July 21, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Lorelei

    It isnt this law that needs to be fixed, but the people. Every human being has a natural right to survive...even all of you who want to condemn this law. Perhaps you are not an aggressor or murderer etc...but many are and when it comes down to when u need it...which all of us hope it doesnt...u just may be thankful. Sure the interaction between GZ and Tm couldve come out better. they both couldve prevented this in some minute way... Perhaps my friend should have asked for a ride home before she was stabbed over 30 times or perhaps my aunt who was murdered would still be alive as well....IF this law was in place at the time. none of u know when it could be you and im sure the families of the ones that did the harm saw good in their loved ones too.

    July 21, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. nintex

    Every now and then McCain says something that actually makes sense, and I only wish he would do it more often. He could make such a difference in the political dialogue if he would say things like this more often, and dare to stand up to the crazies on the right.

    July 21, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Mary Ann

    This is one of the few times that I agree with McCain.

    July 21, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. Hammerer

    McCain did not lose to Obama in 2008, the media bought him out.
    He took a dive!

    July 21, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    He's correct. But he was still silly enough to give us that nutjob from Alaska. No forgiveness, ever for that.

    July 21, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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