ALEC backs away from gun, voter ID laws

April 18, 2012 at 1:21 AM

WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- A U.S. business-funded group that lobbies for state legislation announced Tuesday it is shutting down its committee that pushed "Stand Your Ground" laws.

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, brought national attention to Florida's law. Sanford, Fla., police initially declined to charge Martin's killer, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, saying he appeared to be protected by the law.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, usually known by the acronym ALEC, said it is closing its Public Safety and Elections Committee, The Washington Post reported. The committee has also drawn up model legislation on voter identification -- laws that have been passed in several states with Republican-majority legislatures and has been criticized for allegedly making voting more difficult for the poor, members of minority groups and the elderly.

Indiana state Rep. David Frizzell, who chairs ALEC, said the organization has decided to focus on its main mission.

"Today we are redoubling our efforts on the economic front, a priority that has been the hallmark of our organization for decades," Frizzell said.

Coca Cola, McDonald's, Intuit and PepsiCo, among others, announced after the Martin shooting became national news that they were dropping support for ALEC.

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