MSNBC host Martin Bashir, in the midst of a panel discussion on his eponymous show assailing "stand your ground" laws and their relation to the George Zimmerman murder trial, passively mentioned that Zimmerman ultimately did not use that defense.
Earlier however, Bashir posed this query to Democratic strategist Julian Epstein, who responded as though Zimmerman had employed the defense that allows threatened individuals to use deadly force rather than retreat if there's reasonable belief of a threat:
BASHIR: Julian, if we accept that the law is designed to curb and prevent violence, is it not the case that stand your ground laws actually escalate violence since they encourage people to meet force with force, including deadly force?
EPSTEIN: Yes, I think what the Trayvon Martin case teaches amongst other things is you can be the instigator of a scuffle, and then in the course of that scuffle, use a firearm and if there are no other eyewitnesses, be able to get away with a claim of self-defense. I think it is not just the self-defense laws. It is the combination of the most relaxed and I think irresponsible gun laws in this country that create an unbelievably toxic mix.
As Bashir pointed out, though, Zimmerman's defense team opted not to use the "stand your ground" defense. His lawyers instead went with a traditional self-defense argument, and he was ultimately acquitted of all charges in Martin's death July 13.
The panel also did not note prominent Democrats have supported "stand your ground" legislation, among them Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano when governor of Arizona and former Michigan Gov. Michelle Granholm.