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New study: “Stand your ground” laws lead to increased homicides

GunsOn 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.

9 Comments


  1. Alex

    September 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I wonder what the folks in Chicago would have to say about this topic ?

  2. david esmay

    September 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Gee I don’t know Alex, considering Chicago’s homicide rate doesn’t even rank in the top 25, and it’s per capita murder rate is lower than FORTY other cities with populations above 40,000 residents. The homicide rate in Chicago is 15.9/100,000 residents, 36 cities have higher homicide rates including New Orleans(57.6/100,000), Detroit(48.2), St.Louis(35.3), Ft. Myers(31.7), Pine Bluff AR(24.3), Dayton OH(23.3), or ROCKY MOUNT NC(20.6)!
    Why don’t you ask the people in ROCKY MOUNT NC HOW THEY FEEL ABOUT THEIR HOMICIDE RATE BEING HIGHER THAN CHICAGO’S ALEX!!!

  3. Frances Jenkins

    September 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    David drinks Quartz for breakfast.

  4. Alex

    September 17, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Poor old david has always struggled with the numbers. Chicago has suffered over 200 homicides this year, and 74 people were shot in just 3 days over the July 4th holidays. Several murders in a smaller town can easily run the rates up very quickly. I wonder if he would rather live in Ft. Myers or in Chicago. One of these days , he’ll figure it all out !

  5. gregflynn

    September 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

    You are free to live in Fort Myers if you wish but Chicago is the safer city.

  6. Jim Wiseman

    September 17, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Stand Your Ground wasn’t an issue in the Zimmerman case. You don’t need to claim you’re standing your ground when someone’s on top of you beating your head against a sidewalk.

  7. Jim Wiseman

    September 17, 2013 at 9:22 am

    …and MAIG is about as “bipartisan” as NC Policy Watch.

  8. david esmay

    September 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Poor old Alex, like Frances, always struggle with facts. When confronted by verifiable statistics that refute their ideological b.s., result to ad hominem attacks. Good show!

  9. Alex

    September 17, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    I’ve never seen anyone get wrapped around the axle like david. The discussion was centered on the impact of self-defense laws in high-crime cities, and all of a sudden he’s giving us these irrelevant crime statistics on Rocky Mount NC. Lack of focus is a real problem here.

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