Report: Stand Your Ground states have more homicides, complicated prosecutions

Photo via thinkprogress.org.
Stand Your Ground, or Shoot First? Credit: Think Progress

A national coalition of more than 1,000 mayors from across the United States released a report Monday 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 Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, in collaboration with the National Urban League and VoteVets, issued  the report 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 – reviews a legal phenomenon that drew national attention after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The study details how the laws have tilted self-defense claims in favor of shooters, sharply increasing successful claims that fatal shootings were justified and 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.

According to the report’s authors, Stand Your Ground states have seen their “justifiable homicide” rate rise by an average of 53 percent in five years following their passage. Over the same period, states without these laws saw justifiable homicides fall by an average of five percent.

The report explains that this increase is not the result of more homicides being classified as “justifiable,” but an overall increase in firearm-related crimes and homicides in Stand Your Ground states.

Texas A&M University researchers published a study in May 2012 that found passage of Stand Your Ground laws was associated with a 7 to 9 percent increase in total homicides, depending on the statistical method used.

“Our coalition joined with the National Urban League and VoteVets to give state legislators the tools they need to understand the impact Stand Your Ground laws have on prosecutions and public safety,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “We hope the results will encourage them to review these laws to determine whether they’re helping their communities, or making the public less safe.”

“We need common-sense gun laws in this country that will help reduce violence and keep our neighborhoods safe,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “This study offers vital insight into how we can improve our laws to ensure the safety of the American people.”

In states that passed these laws between 2005 and 2007, the justifiable homicide rate was 53 percent higher in the years after passage of the law than in the years preceding it.

The jump in justifiable homicides was particularly large in some states: 200 percent in Florida, 54 percent in Texas, 83 percent in Georgia, 24 percent in Arizona and 725 percent in Kentucky.

A new analysis of demographic data also indicates that the increase in justifiable homicides has disproportionately affected the African-American population.

The number of both black and white justifiable homicide victims has increased in Stand Your Ground states, but because the rate of victimization among African-Americans was already much higher before enactment of Stand Your Ground laws, the subsequent increase has also been more dramatic.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Preachers rail at NYPD at Eric Garner's funeral

Preacher after preacher stepped up to the pulpit at a sweltering Brooklyn church on Wednesday to express fury at the city's police force during the funeral of Eric Garner, who…

Local

Newark schools probed after claims of race discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education said on Wednesday it was investigating complaints that a plan to reorganize public schools in Newark, New Jersey, discriminates against black students.

National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…