John McCain was feeling a little mavericky during his Sunday State of the Union appearance, when he echoed President Obama's recent call for the reexamination of Stand Your Ground laws in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict. After calling the President's Friday speech on Trayvon Martin and race "very impressive," he agreed that "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." When asked by Candy Crowley if he thought his home state of Arizona, which also allows people use deadly force to defend themselves without attempting to retreat from a confrontation, should review its own law, he replied, "Yes, I do...And I'm confident that the members of the Arizona legislature will, because it is very controversial legislation." He also said he disagreed with Republican Senator Ted Cruz's NRA-backed belief that Obama's questioning of Stand Your Ground laws is just a sneaky way to erode Second Amendment rights. "I respect [Cruz's] view, but I don't frankly see the connection," McCain said.
Unfortunately for McCain, Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and many of the people who showed up for Saturday's Al Sharpton-organized "Justice for Trayvon Martin" rallies, the public outcry over Stand Your Ground laws doesn't seem to pose a major threat to the existing legislation. As the AP notes, the 22 states with Stand Your Ground are mostly "conservative and lean toward laws that defend gun owners’ rights." "The reality is that this is not a federal issue. This is a state issue," pointed out Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, who taught both Obama and Michelle. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott, who recently agreed with the findings of a task force that recommended no changes to the state's Stand Your Ground law, responded to last week's occupation of his office by anti-Stand Your Ground protesters by saying, "I think it is great that people are exercising their voices." That brush-off probably applies to the federal government as well.