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Solutions

Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws

Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws

What is the problem?

Shoot First, also known as Stand Your Ground, laws allow people to shoot to kill in public even when they can safely walk away from the danger. These laws threaten public safety by encouraging armed vigilantism. They allow a person to kill another person in a public area even when there are clear and safe ways to retreat from a dangerous situation.

Shoot First laws encourage avoidable escalation of violence, and they do not deter crime. Under traditional self-defense law, a person can use force to defend themselves anywhere. If they’re outside their home, though, they can’t use force that is likely to kill or seriously injure someone if there’s a safe way to avoid it. Shoot First laws allow people to shoot to kill in public even when they can safely walk away from the danger. These laws are associated with increases in homicides and injuries, and disproportionately impact communities of color. Lawmakers should put the safety of their constituents first and repeal these dangerous laws in their states.

Which states have rejected Stand Your Ground laws?

21 states have rejected this policy

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

No Shoot First Law

Alabama has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Alaska has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Arizona has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Arkansas has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

California has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Colorado has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Connecticut has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Delaware has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Florida has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Georgia has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Hawaii has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Idaho has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Illinois has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Indiana has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Iowa has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Kansas has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Kentucky has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Louisiana has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Maine has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Maryland has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Massachusetts has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Michigan has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Minnesota has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Mississippi has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Missouri has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Montana has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Nebraska has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Nevada has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

New Hampshire has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

New Jersey has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

New Mexico has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

New York has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

North Carolina has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

North Dakota has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Ohio has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Oklahoma has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Oregon has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Pennsylvania has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Rhode Island has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

South Carolina has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

South Dakota has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Tennessee has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Texas has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Utah has not rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Vermont has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Virginia has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Washington has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

West Virginia has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Wisconsin has rejected this policy

No Shoot First Law

Wyoming has not rejected this policy

How it Works

Shoot First laws encourage escalated violence.

Under traditional self-defense law, a person can use force to defend themselves anywhere. When they are outside their home, however, they cannot use force likely to kill or seriously injure someone if there is a safe way to avoid it. Traditional self-defense gives people the right to protect themselves, but also recognizes that it is always best to avoid killing someone if possible. It does not require a person to retreat from a situation if retreating would put them in danger, but requires a person to avoid killing another if there is a clear and safe way to do so. These laws upend traditional self-defense by allowing people to shoot to kill in public, even when they can safely walk away from the danger.

Shoot First laws are associated with increases in homicide rates resulting in 700 additional homicides each year. Research on these laws has demonstrated that these laws are associated with increases in firearm homicides. At the state level, these laws have been associated with considerable increases in gun deaths, including unintentional deaths: 6 to 7 percent more gun deaths occurred in suburban counties and 8 percent more gun deaths occurred in urban counties in states that adopted these laws.

Stand Your Ground laws disproportionately impact communities of color. In states with these laws, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed.

By the numbers

Myth & Fact

Myth

Shoot first laws are necessary to prevent harm.

Fact

In most cases, you can avoid a conflict when one party retreats. For example, in the majority of Florida Stand Your Ground cases, the person who claimed Stand Your Ground could have retreated to avoid the confrontation.