Stand Your Ground Increased Florida's Justifiable Homicides by 200 Percent, Study Says

Categories: Crime

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So is Stand Your Ground on the ropes or here to stay? Since the outrage boiling over after the George Zimmerman trial verdict, there's been a lot of talk across the state about reforming the shoot-first legislation.

But even if -- somehow -- the political will shifted toward dismantling the NRA's key piece of legislation, the law's effects have already been tremendous in its relatively short lifespan. We've all heard about the big-headline cases, but according to a new study, Stand Your Ground has dramatically altered how cases of justifiable homicide are classified in the Sunshine State.

The report, a tag-team effort by the National Urban League and Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, examined the 22 Stand Your Ground states, measuring the changes since the 2005-07 period when these laws were mostly hammered into stone.

According to the data, the states with the law saw an average 53 percent increase of homicides ruled justifiable.

Florida's increase was a little higher: 200 percent. Yup, let that marinate in your brainpan for a second or two. The states with similar large jumps are the usual suspects you generally don't want to be lumped in with: Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and Kentucky.

The study also found some pretty troubling patterns on the racial impact of Stand Your Ground. "The number of homicides of black people that were deemed justifiable in Stand Your Ground states more than doubled between 2005 and 2011," the study says, "rising from 0.5 to 1.2 per 100,000 people -- while it remained unchanged in the rest of the country."

Also, when white shooters pull the trigger on black victims, 34 percent of the time the homicide is deemed justifiable; switch around those demographics, only 3.33 percent of shootings involving a black individual with a gun and a white victim are ruled justifiable.

And when the shooter is "an older white male," the victim a "younger black man with whom he had no prior relationship," 49 percent of the time it's ruled OK. In the reverse situation, only 8 percent of the time.



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