Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal was based on a state law in Florida giving citizens the option of using deadly force in self-defense.
That Florida development may be at the front of a global trend, says University of Chicago law professor Tom Ginsburg.
Ginsburg says legal developments in the US coincide with more aggressive interpretations of self-defense laws in countries including Belgium, Italy and Britain, and may help drive more far-reaching interpretations of self-defense theory in other parts of the world.
“It’s not clear that this Florida law is going to be followed around the world, it just seems like a significant possibility, and it seems like something that is resonant in the culture of many countries.”
Ginsburg notes changes in constitutions in Turkey, Peru, Paraguay and Kazakhstan now specify a right to self defense.
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