‘Stand Your Ground’ law may lead to more homicides

Stand Your Ground protests

Protest rally to demand justice for the shooting of Trayvon Martin, on April 9, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

In 2005 there were 12 states, including Florida, that passed a “Stand Your Ground” law that said if a stranger attacked you in public, you no longer had to retreat, but instead could use lethal force in self-defense, according to NPR.

The grim reality of this law was realized with the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old who lost his life in Sanford, Florida.

The newest research that has come out on the effectiveness of the law shows that states with the law have more homicides than states without the law, showing a direct correlation between deaths and “Stand  Your Ground.”

“These laws lower the cost of using lethal force,” says Mark Hoekstra, an economist with Texas A&M University who examined stand your ground laws. “Our study finds that, as a result, you get more of it.”

Advocates for the law, like Rep. Dennis Baxley of Florida say that the law enables good people to defend themselves.

“They’re doing what they are supposed to do, as a good citizen,” he says. “They’re stopping a violent act. And that’s what I want the statute to do at the end of the day.”

Stanford law professor John Donohue says that there are too many consequences of “stand your ground” to ignore.

“The imperfect but growing evidence seems to suggest that the consequences of adopting stand your ground laws are pernicious, in that they may lead to a greater number of homicides — thus going against the notion that they are serving some sort of protective function for society,” he says.

Follow Marquise Francis on Twitter @mKfly