State Senator George Maziarz (R-Wheatfield)
BUFFALO, NY -- As the nation continues to debate the so-called "stand Your Ground" laws, a Western New York Senator has come under fire for his version of the bill.
For days, State Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane) declined comment, but now he is defending his bill.
After days of criticism, Maziarz has broken his silence about the "stand your ground" legislation he and fellow Western New York Senator Michael Ranzenhofer have sponsored.
These types of laws have come under the microscope across the country in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin. The bill proposes expanding the the rights of gun owners to use deadly force outside their homes if they reasonably fear for their safety.
Some of the "stand your ground" laws, including the Maziarz proposal, go a step further by allowing deadly force to stop someone from committing serious crimes, including burglary.
"Individuals, in their homes, on their own property, in their cars, have every right to protect themselves, now if they feel threatened, legitimately threatened. They have a right to protect themselves, this law is not about protecting vigilantes, or people who take the law into their own hands," said Maziarz.
But many gun control advocates fear the law could open the door to vigilante justice.
A couple dozen democratic senators, including Buffalo's Tim Kennedy, have joined several groups, like the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence in urging Maziarz to withdrawal his bill in New York. But Maziarz says he's not backing down and he says his opponents are using the tragedy of the Trayvon Martin death to push their own politics.