NCD Statement on "Stand Your Ground" Laws

The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress, and other federal agencies on policies, programs, practices, and procedures that determine the quality of life and expanse of opportunities for Americans with disabilities, made up of a team of fifteen presidentially appointed Council members, an Executive Director appointed by the Chairman, and a dedicated professional staff.

As we convene today’s meeting on Medicaid Managed Care in the great state of Florida, NCD pledges its solidarity with those facing systemic racism, civil and human rights violations and respectfully ask the state of Florida -- and over twenty other states with similar laws -- to review and/or revoke current legislation and policy applications that disproportionately harm marginalized communities.

Clearly, concerns brought to public attention by “Stand Your Ground” and similar laws extend beyond the borders of one state and impact more than one community, often with many lines, identities and contributing factors intersecting.  Increasingly, the implications of laws passed in one State reverberate in ways that cannot be known at the time they are conceived across the nation.

Since first formed in 1978 and later became independent in 1984, NCD has regularly issued reports containing findings and recommendations determined from comprehensive analyses of civil rights laws, mediation, court decisions, regulations, policy guidance, and models.

NCD policy positions are intended to promote the rights of all people to participate fully in every aspects of society, freely and without fear, and many of the disability community’s most important civil rights laws are reflections of this aim, including but not limited to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, the Help America Vote Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Developmental Disabilities Act, the Olmstead decision, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, hate crimes laws, and so many others.

As we near the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and the 30th Anniversary of the National Council on Disability later this year, and while much has certainly been achieved since our inception, let us be mindful that there is still much work before us to ensure equality, safety and justice for all.  

It is in this spirit that we offer this statement and urge continued careful, comprehensive and committed attention and assessment of detrimental “Stand Your Ground” and similar laws on persons with disabilities – and to all communities who are likely to find themselves unduly harmed by the long-term and largely unanticipated consequences of these laws.

Respectfully yours,

The members of the National Council on Disability

Issued: February 21, 2014

National Council on Disability • 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850 • Washington, DC 20004