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InsiderOnline Blog: March 2012

No Wave of Gun Violence Following Stand-Your-Ground Passage

Both violent crime and homicides per capita fell following the enactment of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in 2004. That law and others like it have come under scrutiny following the shooting of an unarmed teenager by a neighborhood watchman in Florida. “Stand Your Ground” laws allow the use of deadly force for self-defense without any duty to retreat in order to avoid violence.  

Yet, as Walter Olson notes (Cato-at-Liberty, March 22), the media are focused on a different and misleading talking point about such laws:

News stories often mention that (quoting ABC): “Since the law was enacted seven years ago, justified homicides in Florida have jumped threefold, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.” But a tripling in the assertion of this defense (from a low base) tells us little in itself since the whole idea of the law was to make the defense more available. In particular it does not signify that some sort of killing began to happen three times as often, even if some seem determined to interpret it that way.

Posted on 03/22/12 02:53 PM by Alex Adrianson

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