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updated: 3/29/2012 6:00 AM

Illinois has its own stance on 'Stand Your Ground'

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  • In this undated file photo provided by the Martin family, Trayvon Martin holds an unidentified baby. Martin was slain in the town of Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 in a shooting that has set off a nationwide furor over race and justice. Neighborhood crime-watch captain George Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are still investigating. Since the slaying, a portrait has emerged of Martin as a laid-back young man who loved sports, was extremely close to his father, liked to crack jokes with friends and, according to a lawyer for his family, had never been in trouble with the law.

      In this undated file photo provided by the Martin family, Trayvon Martin holds an unidentified baby. Martin was slain in the town of Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 in a shooting that has set off a nationwide furor over race and justice. Neighborhood crime-watch captain George Zimmerman claimed self-defense and has not been arrested, though state and federal authorities are still investigating. Since the slaying, a portrait has emerged of Martin as a laid-back young man who loved sports, was extremely close to his father, liked to crack jokes with friends and, according to a lawyer for his family, had never been in trouble with the law.
    Associated Press file photo

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SPRINGFIELD -- Eyes have turned to Florida's so-called Stand Your Ground law in the months since Trayvon Martin's shooting, but Illinois doesn't have the same law that has so far protected the Florida shooter from arrest.

In both states, the law doesn't require someone who is being attacked to retreat before fighting back, but there is a key difference in their approaches after that.

In Florida, someone who is attacked can resist with potentially deadly force when they're attacked.

Under Illinois law, a person can resist with deadly force only if he or she is attacked with deadly force.

Someone being punched or pushed, for example, would be breaking the law to fight back with a gun.

And, carrying a gun in public is illegal in Illinois, the only state that doesn't allow people to conceal and carry a weapon.

"You don't have the tools to resist," said Richard Pearson, director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

State Rep. Richard Morthland, a Republican from downstate Cordova, has introduced legislation that would make Illinois' law more like Florida. But it has languished.

Illinois treats someone's house a little differently.

Illinois law allows someone to defend their home with potentially deadly means if a burglar makes some kind of violent, forced entry. That's called a Castle Law.

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