Study: Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Linked to Homicide Increase

A new study finds Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law is linked to an increase in homicides.

Following the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” was thrown into the national spotlight. Now, researchers argue that the law is linked to a significant rise in gun-related homicides.

The Study

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the paper found that the “Stand Your Ground Law” was associated with a 24.4 percent increase in homicides and 31.6 percent increase in gun related homicides.

Researchers analyzed the monthly homicide rates in Florida data using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER). Analysts examined the monthly homicide rights before and after the enacted legislation and found that prior to the law’s implementation, the average monthly homicide rate in Florida was 0.49 deaths per 100,000, and the rate of homicide by firearm was 0.29 deaths per 100,000. However, after the law took effect there was an abrupt increase in the monthly homicide rate and rate of homicides by firearms.

Researchers argued, “The implementation of Florida’s stand your ground self-defense law was associated with a significant increase in homicides and homicides by firearm but no change in rates of suicide or suicide by firearm.”

What is the “Stand Your Ground” law?

Florida was the first state to pass the “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005, which allowed for people to generally stand their ground instead of retreating if they reasonably believe doing so will “prevent death or great bodily harm”. Since then, several states have enacted similar laws. While each state’s laws vary, but typically you have the right to not retreat.

23 different states that have passed stand your ground laws:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Indiana
  7. Kansas
  8. Kentucky
  9. Louisiana
  10. Michigan
  11. Mississippi
  12. Montana
  13. Nevada
  14. New Hampshire
  15. North Carolina
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Pennsylvania
  18. South Carolina
  19. South Dakota
  20. Tennessee
  21. Texas
  22. Utah
  23. West Virginia

Advocates of the Stand Your Ground law assert that it would lead to fewer burglaries, because it would give people the ability to defend themselves, if they feel threatened. However, opponents of the Stand Your Ground law argued that these type of laws would disproportionately affect minorities as threats prompted by racial stereotypes would lead to unnecessary murders.


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