On the day President Obama addressed the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also called the incident an “incredible tragedy” but dodged questions about Florida’s controversial Stand your Ground gun law.
Last month, Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who said the teen appeared suspicious while walking through a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman claimed self-defense to police and has not been arrested.
During a press conference announcing his nominee for head of the World Bank, Mr. Obama shared his condolences with Martin’s parents, adding it is “absolutely imperative” that local, state and federal investigators get to the bottom of what happened.
“Obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids,” he said.
McConnell echoed the president’s sentiments, but avoided any comment on the controversial law which has come under intense scrutiny since Martin’s death.
“It is an incredible tragedy of huge proportions,” McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, told reporters Friday morning. “I’m glad it’s being investigated and we’ll take a look at it as the investigation moves along.”
He sidestepped a question about whether Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law needs to be reexamined in light of the shooting. The 2005 gun law, which allows wider protections for shooters to claim self-defense, states that a person “has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.”
Mr. Obama said everything should be examined about the incident, including the state law that allows a person to use force rather than retreat if they feel threatened outside their home.
The U.S. Justice Department has launched a federal probe into the incident.