Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft says the state's new 'Stand Your Ground' law, which went into effect May 22, not only gives "persons (with gun carry licenses) who are not engaged in criminal activity" limitless power to kill in self-defense, but it also strips criminals of their rights to self-defense, even against other criminals.
"Hopefully, there will be a lot less drug-dealers killing each other...a lot other people who won't be, particularly gangs, that are shooting at each other," Craft says. "They won't be able to claim self-defense because they are breaking the law."
"For the person who does not have a permit and is illegally carrying a gun, there is no more self-defense as I understand this statute," says Marvin Ballin, a Memphis criminal defense attorney.
Under the law, Tennessee citizens who own guns but no carry permit may only use the guns in self-defense when they are inside their homes.