WASHINGTON, April 11 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday "Stand Your Ground" self-defense laws are "a license to murder" and promote "vigilante justice."
"The laws are not the kind of laws a civilized society should have and the [National Rifle Association] should be ashamed of themselves," Politico reported Bloomberg told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.
"This has nothing to do with gun-owners' rights. This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. Plain and simple, this is just trying to give people a license to murder," Bloomberg, a longtime advocate for gun control, said at the news conference to launch a "Second Chance on Shoot First" national campaign to dismantle so-called Stand Your Ground laws that have been passed in dozens of U.S. states.
Florida's law made international headlines after Sanford neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin, Feb. 26 in a gated community where Martin was visiting relatives.
Zimmerman was taken into custody Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder in Martin's death.
"The fact is, all Americans already have a right to defend themselves with commensurate force, but these shoot-first laws have nothing to do with that or with the exercise of Second Amendment rights; instead they justify civilian gunplay, and invite vigilante justice and retribution with disastrous results," Bloomberg said.
"Anybody that puts a bounty on somebody else's life is acting totally inappropriately. I'm sure it's illegal, it must be illegal."