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Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws

Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws

What is the problem?

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.

Stand Your Ground 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. Stand Your Ground 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 dangerous Stand Your Ground laws in their states.

How it Works

Stand Your Ground 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. Stand Your Ground laws upend traditional self-defense by allowing people to shoot to kill in public, even when they can safely walk away from the danger.

Stand Your Ground laws are associated with an increase in homicide rates translating to more than 150 additional gun deaths each month in the US overall. Research on these laws has demonstrated that these laws are associated with increases in firearm homicides. At the state level, Stand Your Ground 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 Stand Your Ground states, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed. Even so, 27 states have passed Stand Your Ground laws since 2005.

By the numbers

Myth & Fact

Myth

Stand Your Ground 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.

All Resources

Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws