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Rep. Lacy Clay: Trayvon Martin Case Is About "Terrible Impact of The Proliferation of Guns"

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via Facebook
Lacy Clay.
Over the weekend, George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was acquitted, sparking protests and marches across the country, including in St. Louis. The high-profile case has raised questions about racial profiling and self-defense laws after Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, pursued the teen on that fateful night last year and, according to prosecutors, instigated the fight, wrongly believing Martin was a criminal.

The six-woman jury, however, ruled that Zimmerman is not guilty, which means he will walk and can even get his gun back.

Civil rights advocates are now pushing the Department of Justice to take action -- a step that Congressman William Lacy Clay, a Democrat who represents the St. Louis area, supports. This case, Clay says, draws attention to the nation's massive gun problem.

See also:
- Trayvon Martin Rallies in St. Louis (PHOTOS)
- St. Louis Activist Compares Lacy Clay to Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained
- Gov. Vetoes Bill To Block Federal Firearm Laws, Signs Another Expanding Gun Rights

In a statement to Daily RFT, Clay says:

We are a nation of laws and we must respect the jury's verdict. However, I will continue to press for justice for Trayvon Martin and for other victims like him, whom the system has failed to protect. This case also makes a powerful statement about the terrible impact of the proliferation of guns in this country.

Clay, in an interview with KMOX, elaborated on his response, saying, "I still think that we ought to pursue justice in this case. That would include the Justice Department reexamining what has happened."

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via Facebook
President Barack Obama with Rep. Lacy Clay.

The Justice Department's official statement on the trial says that it has a continuing investigation into Martin's death:

As the Department first acknowledged last year, we have an open investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin. The Department of Justice's Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial. Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department's policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial.

The case has brought to the forefront so-called Stand Your Ground laws, by which legally armed citizens have a right to fatally shoot people in various self-defense contexts, depending on the state.

In Missouri, the "Castle Doctrine," expanded under Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, in 2010, allows residents who encounter intruders to use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes.

Critics say these laws have gone too far.

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder argued that in the most extreme cases, these laws allow and encourage violent situations to escalate in public -- and thus undermine public safety.

Below are photos from the Trayvon Martin rally at the St. Louis Justice Center on Sunday.

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Leah Greenbaum
Speaker at the Justice Center asked participants to join hands for a silent prayer.

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Leah Greenbaum
Zahmill Manuel: "When they said 'not guilty' I smacked my laptop off my desk. I screamed. I fell down crying. I don't know this boy. I've never seen this boy a day in my life but I felt completely devastated."

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Leah Greenbaum
State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, center, who opened and closed the rally with speeches.

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Leah Greenbaum

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Leah Greenbaum

Continue for more photos.


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20 comments
Max Schulze
Max Schulze

Except maybe the guy getting his head bashed into the curb.

James Madison
James Madison

Stop looking at those defending their property and self-defense as an excuse for gun control. Look to the gangs and criminals. Make them accountable for using guns. Lock them away for a long time for crimes committed with a gun. A long, long time.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

Well, no gun in this case would mean George would be dead & we wouldn't even be here, that's what all these racist want? right?

Jason Brock
Jason Brock

No, it shows a proliferation of assholes with guns.

Scott Plackemeier
Scott Plackemeier

I'm pro-2nd Amendment but if you really believe that everyone having a gun on them at all times will eliminate crime you are either very naive or you are bought and paid for by the gun lobby.

AJ Wilkes
AJ Wilkes

If everyone has a gun...confrontations are more likely. Having more guns does nothing to address the problem of illegal guns.

Michael Hoffner
Michael Hoffner

if everyone has a gun...the crooks wont have anyone to victimize......

AJ Wilkes
AJ Wilkes

More guns equal more confrontations with guns. This is not rocket science.

Margaret Booker
Margaret Booker

Representative Clay is the first federal legislator I have heard comment on these matter. Good work! I am now looking to hear from everyone else, both federal and state. We have all for to speak out on this now and in advance of the next election cycles.

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

ask him why some politicans have armed bodyguards.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

just be nice and give them all your stuff they are on drugs they need it more

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

yes we shouldnt be able to protect ourselves from abusive thugs of any race

Rick Firestein
Rick Firestein

He's a nutcase! If Obummer had a brother living in St. Louis it would look like him!

Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas

if everybody had a gun they could have shot and killed each other but then what would the media have to talk about for weeks on end

12judges
12judges

Complete and utter horseshit.  As if the situation wouldn't have turned violent if Zimmerman had been carrying a different weapon like a knife or none at all, in which case Zimmerman may have been the one to be killed by combination of Trayvon's fists and a concrete sidewalk.  Clay is another classic example of a black leader looking for an excuse as to why events like these are all too common within the black community.  It isn't guns.  It isn't racism.  It isn't lack of opportunity or education.  It's about culture and perception and repeated demonstration of disrespect for the rule of law.  People of all races and ethnicities, including african-americans, are sick and tired of being willing victims restricted by a justice system that favors criminals and are fighting back.  "Castle Doctrine", "Stand Your Ground", and "No Duty to Retreat" laws are the first and correct step in addtion to concealed carry nationwide to making our streets safer and making criminals take notice.  It is no mistake that the top 10 states with the most restrictive gun laws have triple the murders of all the other states combined (http://www.examiner.com/article/exclusive-states-with-toughest-gun-laws-have-triple-the-amount-of-gun-deaths).

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