New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that he would be launching a national campaign known as "Second Chance on Shoot First."
The campaign announcement came as media attention in the Trayvon Martin case heated up this week, with Martin's killer George Zimmerman formally charged with second-degree murder.
Bloomberg has been vocal about his opposition to the "Stand Your Ground" law, which is backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The law was designed to enable individuals to defend themselves in the event of a reasonable threat with no obligation to retreat.
Critics of the law argue that the legislation makes it possible for individuals to get away with murder by simply claiming they feared for their lives.
The Stand Your Ground law is active in Florida and is central to the Martin shooting since Zimmerman has claimed self-defense.
However, Bloomberg's campaign aims to repeal or reform the laws that eliminate a person's duty to retreat when threatened with serious bodily harm or death. These laws are currently active in 25 states.
"The tragic death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, touched a nerve all across this country," Bloomberg said. "I believe we all have a responsibility to investigate the meaning of this terrible event for our nation and then to take action."
"You just cannot have a civilized society where everybody can have a gun and make their own decisions as to whether someone is threatening or not," he added. "This has nothing to do with gun owners' rights, nothing to do with the second amendment. Plain and simple, this is just trying to give people a license to murder."
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Action Network, the Color of Change and Vote Vets have partnered with Bloomberg in promoting the new campaign.
The NRA and Bloomberg have a peppered history of being at odds over gun laws.
In January of 2011, Bloomberg called for stricter background checks for gun purchases. In response, NRA political director Chuck Cunningham said Bloomberg was trying to deflect blame for New York's gun violence.
"He likes to blame everyone else for violent crime in New York City," Cunningham said to a crowd of supporters. "He's not after illegal guns. He's after your guns. And that's a real snow job."
by RTT Staff Writer
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