On a day in which yet another mass shooting is gripping the nation, a new report issued by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and other national nonprofits paints a sobering portrait of the impact of so-called “stand your ground ” laws of the kind that influenced the outcome of the George Zimmerman case and that is now the law in North Carolina.
This is from the release that accompanied the report:
The bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, in collaboration with the National Urban League and VoteVets, issued a new report today showing that many of the 22 states with “Stand Your Ground” laws have experienced a striking increase in the number of justifiable homicides committed by private citizens in the years following their enactment.
The report was issued a day before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is to consider the law enforcement and public safety implications of laws some critics call “Shoot First” statutes.
The report – Shoot First: ‘Stand Your Ground Laws and Their Effect on Violent Crime and the Criminal Justice System – provides a comprehensive review of a legal phenomenon that drew national attention after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The study details how these laws have tilted self-defense claims in favor of shooters, sharply increasing successful claims that fatal shootings were justified while boosting the overall homicide rates. The report also provides an analysis of the Stand Your Ground laws in each of the 22 states that have adopted them since Florida passed the nation’s first in 2005. The report is available at: http://maig.us/186JLnh.
Ironically, North Carolina shows up in the study as a state with a large drop-off in justifiable homicides during the period studied — a period in which it did not have a “stand your ground” law on the books. As the report notes, Gov. Bev Perdue signed such a law into effect in 2011 — too late to contribute data to this study.
Let’s fervently hope that North Carolina does not follow the disturbing trend reported in states like Florida and Texas in which “justifiable homicides” spiked after the adoption of such a law.