Research has Shown ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Are Associated With Increased Homicides and are not Shown to Decrease Violent Crime
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action, both parts of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement on the introduction of so-called Stand Your Ground legislation that would upend traditional self-defense law in Ohio and allow a person to shoot to kill in public, even when there is a clear and safe alternative:
“At a time when so many Ohioans are asking lawmakers to strengthen our gun laws, this extreme policy would move us in the exact wrong direction,” said Laura Robertson-Boyd, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The research is in on so-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, and it’s horrifying.”
“As a student from Florida — where we’ve had a dangerous Stand Your Ground law for years — I know the controversy and violence that comes with these laws,” said Mitchell Pinsky, a student leader with Students Demand Action at The Ohio State University. “A Stand Your Ground law only stands to make Ohio less safe. Rather than even entertaining this dangerous proposal, Ohio lawmakers should be working to pass the kinds of bills we know work to prevent gun violence, like background checks on all gun sales and a strong red flag law.”
Under current Ohio law, a person can use force, including deadly force, to defend himself anywhere. But when in public, a person cannot use force likely to kill or seriously injure someone if there is a safe way to avoid the danger. The legislation introduced today would upend traditional self-defense law in Ohio and allow a person to shoot to kill in public, even when there is a clear and safe alternative. It would give everyday citizens more leeway to shoot than the United States military gives soldiers in war zones.
Last month, the RAND Corporation released a follow up to its Gun Policy in America research initiative, noting that additional studies have reinforced RAND’s findings last year that Stand Your Ground laws are associated with increased homicides and are not shown to decrease violent crime.
Florida adopted the country’s first Stand Your Ground law in 2005. Research shows that Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was associated with a 32 percent increase in firearm homicide rates. Staggeringly, nearly 60 percent of those who have invoked Stand Your Ground in Florida had been arrested at least once before they killed someone. In 79 percent of Florida Stand Your Ground cases, the person who invoked Stand Your Ground could have retreated to avoid the confrontation. In 68 percent of those cases, the person killed was unarmed.
This increase in gun violence and homicides has occurred in states across the country that have passed Stand Your Ground laws. In fact, at least 30 people nationwide are killed each month as a result of Stand Your Ground laws. Stand Your Ground also has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Research shows that when white shooters kill Black victims, the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable 11 times more frequently than when the shooter is Black and the victim is white.