JUNE 13, 2012 / BY FANNA GAMAL US Commission on Civil Rights to investigate "Shoot First" laws

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has voted to launch an investigation into so-called "stand your ground" laws. The laws, which permit the use of deadly force in cases of self-defense, have come under scrutiny after playing a key role in the defense of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida earlier this year. In its proposal, the commission cited potential racial bias in the laws' implementation as the chief reason for the probe.

According to one FBI report, "34% of cases involving a white shooter killing a black person were deemed as a justifiable homicide. Meanwhile, in similar situations, when the shooter was black and the victim was white, the homicide was ruled justifiable only 3.3% of the time.”

Members of the ColorOfChange community know well the connection between "stand your ground," the American Legislative Exchange Council, and other laws -- including voter ID bills -- that put Black communities at risk. ALEC, a far-right policy group, has pushed the "stand your ground" laws in almost two dozen states.

Since ColorOfChange launched a campaign calling on corporations to stop funding ALEC, the group has been losing corporate backers left and right. If you haven't already called on elected officials in your state to stand against these laws, please join us here.