The death of Trayvon Martin is an undeniable tragedy. People are outraged, and rightly so, because a young, unarmed teenager lost his life. The incident has brought Florida's "stand your ground" law into sharp focus in the center of a media and legal firestorm.
The shooting of Martin was not something that the Florida Legislature anticipated would happen when it enacted the law in 2005.
When the law was pushed through the legislature, its supporters, including the National Rifle Association, proclaimed it as necessary to give law-abiding citizens the ability to protect themselves.
The law expanded an individual's legal right to use force, including deadly force, in self-defense. And it allows it in any place, not just in one's home, without fear of civil or criminal consequences when the individual has a "reasonable" fear of death or great bodily harm.
The National Rifle Association lobbied hard for the law in Florida, which passed the House and Senate with almost no opposition. Based on its resounding success in Florida, the NRA lobbied for similar legislation in many other states. The vast majority of these acts also passed.
One cannot entirely fault the NRA for supporting the bill. Simply put, it's good for business. As people are encouraged to purchase and use firearms to protect themselves, presumably more guns are purchased and more individuals join the association.
However, it's becoming increasingly clear that the ramifications of the law are murky.
Pictured: Supporters of Trayvon Martin rally in Union Square during a 'Million Hoodie March' in Manhattan on March 21, 2012 in New York City. Thousands of protesters turned out to demonstrate against the killing of the black unarmed teenager by a white neighborhood watch captain. The protesters marched through the streets after holding a large rally in Union Square.
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)