A License To Kill: the “Stand Your Ground” Law

MurderRatesSYGYou know it intuitively. A “Stand Your Ground” law is simply a license to kill. When George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old , the law protected Zimmerman. He claimed he shot in self-defense, and with no evidence to support or refute his contention, the police were prohibited by law to arrest him. Under the “Stand Your Ground” law, someone who reasonably believes (s)he is in imminent danger may protect him- or herself by any means, including deadly force.

Not surprisingly, Florida, the first state to adopt the law, saw its gun homicide rate spike above the national average and stay there. Twenty-one more states adopted the law within a year. A 2012 study showed that far from deterring crime, the laws resulted in an increase of murder and manslaughter (500-700 cases per year) in the states that adopted the laws. Moreover, another study by the Tampa Bay Times shows that defendants who took cover under the “Stand Your Ground” law were “significantly” more likely to avoid criminal liability for a homicide if the victim was black.

As Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush worked with the National Rifle Association to pass the law the NRA had written. In April, 2015, Bush attended the NRA’s annual convention and claimed he was second to none in his support of the Second Amendment. He still supports “Stand Your Ground,” describing it as “a sensible law that other states have adopted.”

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Filed under Gun safety, Politics, Race, Shooting

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