JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement strongly opposing HB 1744, a bill that would make Missouri the first new Stand Your Ground state since Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2012. Stand Your Ground laws, or “shoot first” laws, embolden people to shoot to kill even when they can safely resolve a conflict by other means.
In addition to driving hundreds of calls into committee members offices urging opposition to this dangerous legislation, volunteers with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action will testify against HB 1744 today at the House Emerging Issues Committee. In March, volunteers testified against the Senate version, SB 1037 in the Senate Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety. No vote was taken in the Senate Committee.
“Passing a Stand Your Ground bill here in Missouri would turn everyday conflicts into deadly encounters by emboldening people to shoot rather than resolving disagreements in another way,” said Becky Morgan, volunteer chapter leader of the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This bill would make Missouri the first state to pass a new Stand Your Ground law since Trayvon Martin’s murder, and when we look at states that have passed these laws, it’s clear that the results are deadly – particularly for people of color. Do not be misled: Stand Your Ground laws do not deter crime, they make every day situations more dangerous by allowing people to shoot first and ask questions later. Our lawmakers should focus instead on keeping guns away from dangerous people.”
Everytown for Gun Safety research has shown that states with Stand Your Ground laws have, on average, experienced a 53 percent increase in homicides deemed justifiable in the years following passage of the law, compared with a five percent decrease in states without Stand Your Ground statutes during the same period—an increase disproportionately borne by the black community. And after Florida passed its Stand Your Ground law, the “justifiable homicide” rate tripled. Additionally, a 2012 study by researchers at Texas A&M found that Stand Your Ground laws are associated with a clear increase in homicides, resulting in 700 more homicides nationwide each year.
The Urban Institute also examined racial disparities in justified gun homicide rulings that involve a single shooter and victim who are strangers. The researchers found that when white shooters kill black victims, 34% of the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable, while only 3.3% of deaths are ruled justifiable when the shooter is black and the victim is white.