What Has Been the Impact of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law on the Homicide Rate? New Analysis Shows Starkly Increased Bloodshed

Last week the Center for American Progress Action Fund released an analysis showing that approximately 4,200 people have been killed by guns and that these murders were a “direct result of its ‘stand your ground” law passed in 2005.”  This represents a 31.6% increase in the homicide rate and an increase of 8% over the nation’s overall rate.

The study found that not only could lives have been spared without this law, but also that there is a racial component in the application of the law as well.

Background

“Stand your ground” laws basically empower people to use lethal force in a situation where retreat would be a viable option or use of a weapon other than a gun.  With good reason, they are often referred to as “shoot first” laws by gun reform advocacy groups. As in most states, Florida’s 2005 “stand your ground” law came into existence with a big helping hand from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), working hand in hand with the NRA.  Florida’s law in particular came under scrutiny on the national stage in February of 2012 when George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator, shot and killed a 17-year-old African American boy by the name of Trayvon Martin, asserting that he was acting suspicious and that Martin had attacked him.

Other studies preceded CAP’s recent analysis and provided evidence that these laws do indeed increase homicide rates.  How did the Florida legislature respond? It decided to expand the law, making prosecutions even more difficult!

Importance of Midterm Elections

Gun reform is one of the top issues of concern to voters throughout the country, and the WNDC Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence has published a list of those candidates seeking federal office who are committed to sensible gun laws, such as universal background checks.

As to Florida specifically and its “stand you ground” law, there is a stark difference in how the two gubernatorial candidates stand.  As this report concludes, Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly expressed his support for the law, while Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum believes the law has “created a state of emergency in Florida” and says that if elected, he will issue an executive order suspending the law.

The choice is clear!  Urge your family and friends to Vote for Gillum!  The effects from Florida’s “Stand your Ground” Law have been devastating!

Read the CAP Action Fund Full Report HERE.