Stand Your Ground Law Advantages and Disadvantages

However, stand-your-ground laws extend this narrow exception to virtually every public place, encouraging an increasingly armed public to “assert themselves,” intensify confrontations, and resort to vigilant justice in situations where they know they have perfectly safe alternatives. By definition, “Stand Your Ground” laws only change the legal standard for situations where it can be proven that a person knew they could safely walk away from an incident to avoid a serious threat to themselves or others, but still chose to kill another human being. In other words, they facilitate the possibility of committing murder. As a result, too often, these laws allow for the use of lethal force as a first step rather than a last resort. For this reason, these laws are often referred to as “shoot first” laws. There were 27 states that had some sort of stand-your-ground law in 2018. Florida tends to get the most attention because of its liberal application and famous cases, but liberal states like New Hampshire also have it in their books. Several states allow lethal self-defense actions in public through other means, including jurisdiction, and Wisconsin, Ohio and North Dakota have applied the precedent to defending one`s own vehicle. 4. There could be a racist bias to resist your basic laws.

The Tampa Bay Tribune collected 112 cases in which people accused of murder decided to rely on stand-your-ground laws as a defense. The first cases of his collection date back to 2006 and continued until July 2013. Journalists found that 72 percent of defendants who killed an African-American person received no punishment for their actions. If a white person was murdered under the same circumstances, 59% were not punished. A study of cases where Stand Your Ground was used as a defense in Florida from 2005 to 2012 found that in 79 percent of cases where such claims were successful, the defendant could have withdrawn to avoid confrontation, and in 68 percent of successful lawsuits, the person killed was unarmed.23 “Blacks make up 16.6 percent of Florida`s population.” notes John Lott, “but represent 31% of defendants who invoke the defence. Black defendants who invoke the law are actually acquitted eight percentage points more often than whites. By lowering the threshold for the justified use of lethal force to protect oneself, stand-your-ground laws should increase the defensive use of weapons and, where a deterrent, reduce crime and violence rates. In particular, on-the-ground laws reduce the anticipated legal costs of using defensive firearms by reducing the likelihood of criminal or civil liability for fatal or non-fatal injuries. Laws, in turn, increase the expected cost of violent criminal behavior, as victims are more likely to respond with lethal force. This mechanism could help reduce crime rates or encourage criminals to turn to other types of crime where they are less likely to encounter armed resistance. In this case, crime rates may remain stable while the composition of crime types (e.g., robbery versus theft) changes. Brittany Smith has been charged with murder for shooting and killing a man who raped, strangled and assaulted her hours earlier, leaving Brittany with more than 30 wounded.

Brittany`s brother tried to intervene to stop the attacker from attacking Brittany again. At the time of the shooting, the assailant strangled Brittany`s brother. Brittany invoked self-defense under Alabama law and was denied immunity. It was later changed with murder.48 The example of Brittany Smith shows how “Stand Your Ground laws” were written to help men, not survivors of domestic violence. Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote that “remote reflection cannot be required in the presence of a raised knife.” Now imagine that the person in question has a gun. You have to make a split-second decision. Stand your ground laws allow people to take action. “Stand your ground” laws do not deter crime – in fact, they increase homicides in the states where they are enacted. If a white person shoots a black person in a stand-you-ground state, the likelihood that the murder will be considered justified increases by seven percentage points. Similarly, the likelihood that a murder in a stand-you-ground state will be considered justified increases if a white person shoots another white person. Self-defense has long been available as a criminal defense for lethal and non-lethal confrontations. Traditionally, this defence imposes the duty to retreat before force is used when a secure retirement is available.

Stand-your-ground laws – called by some shooting laws first – abolish this obligation to back down in certain cases of self-defense. By abolishing this rule, stand-your-ground laws are designed to remove barriers to self-defense in order to further deter criminal victimization. Given the availability of self-defense laws for situations where a safe retirement is not possible, stand-your-ground laws apply primarily when a person can safely withdraw from an attack or when the availability of a secure retirement is ambiguous. [13] David Love, Stand Your Ground Laws Encourage Racially Charged Violence, CNN (August 3, 2018) (citing comments by then-gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on the Florida law).