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How Right-Wing ALEC Teamed Up With The NRA To Get Copycat, "Stand Your Ground" Laws In 21 States

The Florida 'stand-your-ground' law "is the template for an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 'model bill' that has been pushed in other states."

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According to Media Matters, "The language is identical to ALEC's Castle Doctrine Act model legislation, which they have been working hand in hand with the NRA to pass across the country":

3. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place [other than their dwelling, residence, or vehicle] where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

"In a 2008 interview with NRA News," Media Matters noted, "ALEC resident fellow Michael Hough explained how his organization works with the NRA to push similar legislation through its network of conservative state legislators:

HOUGH: We are a very pro-Second Amendment organization. In fact, last session, I'll get off-topic here real quick, but some of the things that we were pushing in states was the Castle Doctrine. We worked with the NRA on that, that's one of our model bills that we have states introduce.

A 2002 report from Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council titled "Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative Exchange Council," found that "the NRA is a longtime funder of ALEC." "In 1993," the report states, "ALEC adopted a resolution expressing its opposition to a waiting period to buy firearms and a ban on semiautomatic firearms. 'The administration and Congress should take a hard look at ALEC's resolution,' James Baker, the executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, said."

SourceWatch points out that "The NRA was a 'Vice-Chairman' level sponsor of 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference, which in 2010, equated to $25,000," and that an NRA operative was "the co-chair of ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force for a number of years, until the Spring of 2011.

Despite its modus operandi of secrecy and backroom dealing, every once in a while something so egregious happens that ALEC is forced out of the shadows. Investigations surrounding the cold-blooded killing of Trayvon Martin by a self-styled vigilante, could push ALEC out into the open.

Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering right-wing groups and movements.

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