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Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws

Solutions

Repeal Stand Your Ground Laws

What does it solve?

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, allowing 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.

Myth & Fact

Myth

Stand Your Ground laws are necessary to prevent harm.

Fact

In most cases, conflict can be avoided when one party retreats. For example, in 79% of Florida Stand Your Ground cases, the person who claimed Stand Your Ground could have retreated to avoid the confrontation.

How it works

Stand Your Ground laws encourage escalated violence.

Under traditional self-defense law, a person can use force to defend themselves anywhere, but when they are outside their home 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.

In the U.S., at least 30 people are killed every month as a result of Stand Your Ground laws. Multiple studies have found these laws to be associated with a clear increase in homicides—the most recent found a 7 percent increase in firearm homicide in urban counties.

Stand Your Ground laws disproportionately impact communities of color. When white shooters kill Black victims, the resulting homicides are considered justifiable 11 times more often than when the shooter is Black and the victim is white. Nevertheless, 26 states have passed Stand Your Ground laws since 2005.

By the numbers

You might be wondering…

  1. 1 What is a Stand Your Ground Law?