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Associated Press , Published July 17 2013

Gov. Dayton: Trayvon Martin case stiffens resolve on gun law

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that the Florida case involving Trayvon Martin's death in a scuffle with a neighborhood watch volunteer has stiffened his opposition to efforts to expand cases where lethal force is presumed legitimate.

Dayton commented on last weekend's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Martin in 2012. Dayton said while he isn't privy to evidence jurors in the case saw, he personally believes Zimmerman “went way beyond what was called for in the situation.”

He tied the case to proposals recently before lawmakers to expand Minnesota's stand-your-ground law in which people can use reasonable, potentially deadly force to defend themselves, their home or dwelling. A bill he vetoed in 2012 would have included hotel rooms, tent, cars and boats. Backers say potential victims of crime shouldn't have to retreat from aggressors.

Dayton said the Martin case underscores the need for limits.

“We have to use common sense here. People have the right to protect themselves. On the other hand, we have a sanctity of life that I think we all believe in,” Dayton said.

The bill Dayton vetoed passed when Republicans were in control of the Legislature. Democrats now hold both chambers, making a new effort to pass a broader deadly force laws a tougher endeavor.


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