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Stand Your Ground Laws Associated With an Increase in Violent Crime, Says RAND Corporation

This 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.

The RAND Corporation’s blog states:

“The RAND review concluded there was “moderate” evidence—the second strongest level of evidence—that these laws are associated with an increase in homicides. Since publication of RAND’s report, at least four additional studies meeting RAND’s standards of rigor have reinforced the finding that “stand your ground” laws increase homicides. None of them found that “stand your ground” laws prevent violent crime. No rigorous study has yet determined whether “stand your ground” laws promote legitimate acts of self-defense.”

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.

Volunteers with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have long opposed dangerous Stand Your Ground laws. More information on Stand Your Ground is available here.