To the Editor:
Re “A Florida Law Gets Scrutiny After a Killing” (front page, March 21):
Let me see if I’ve got this straight: A self-appointed vigilante, brandishing a deadly weapon, reportedly ignores police directions and assaults an unarmed black 17-year-old, and as a result of this self-instigated confrontation the teenager is killed; the assailant pleads self-defense and may escape prosecution.
Surely this scenario cannot be justified under any sane reading of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Florida’s ill-conceived rejection of several hundred years of common-law precedent — the duty to retreat safely rather than to resort to the use of deadly force — has been revealed for its sheer idiocy. All such laws must be repealed.
Stowe, Vt., March 21, 2012
The writer is a lawyer.

To the Editor:
If citizens are to be entrusted with the responsibilities of gun ownership, they must be held accountable for their actions. Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law, along with the 20 similar laws across the country, effectively removes that accountability.
The problem isn’t just that feeling threatened is the only justification needed for the use of deadly force; it’s that the courts must take the defendant’s word on the matter. Without this law on the books, Trayvon Martin, the black teenager, might still be alive or, at the very least, we could rest assured that justice would prevail.
But thanks to Stand Your Ground, George Zimmerman’s claim that he felt threatened might be enough to keep him free.
New York, March 21, 2012

To the Editor:
Re “The Curious Case of Trayvon Martin,” by Charles M. Blow (column, March 17):
Trayvon’s death raises painful questions about race and the unfair burdens placed on African-American youths in our society. The tragedy also raises questions about the role of guns in America.
The actions of the gunman, George Zimmerman, come amid a well-financed, nationwide effort by the National Rifle Association to reduce requirements for carrying concealed guns legally and to expand the legal definition of defensive gun use through “shoot first” legislation like that in place in Florida.
Mr. Zimmerman was legally carrying the handgun he used to kill Trayvon Martin. It’s time to ask if these laws are making America safer, or just setting us up for more tragic incidents and more senseless killings.
Philadelphia, March 19, 2012
The writer is the former executive director of CeaseFirePA, a gun violence prevention organization in Pennsylvania.

To the Editor:
Charles M. Blow’s fears that his African-American sons may encounter a man with a gun are common among African-American fathers like me. We tutor our sons about the behaviors that may save their lives when they are not under our watchful eyes. In the 21st century, such tutoring should be passé.
Our youths have too long a history of victimization by law enforcement and their fellow citizens. Justice in these instances is too infrequent and too slow.
Willingboro, N.J., March 19, 2012