Is Stand Your Ground Law Facing Possible Changes?

A Florida task force is reviewing the data surrounding the “Stand Your Ground” law. However, an educator who reported on the study related that a variety of factors affect the conclusions regarding the law. The task force cannot make a final decision on the law’s effectiveness due to insufficient information. Some of the data reviewed include effects on crime and tourism. The study also considered gun ownership trends.

The Florida governor implemented the study after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The highly charged political incident propelled the state’s heated discussions over gun laws into national attention. Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader. Zimmerman insisted he was defending himself but was eventually charged with second-degree murder. Residents across the nation clamored for the charges, which also resulted in the assignment of a special prosecutor to the case.

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Florida passed the controversial law in 2005, which permits anyone who believes they will be seriously injured to exercise deadly force. The educator reported on several statistics since the passage of the law. The report found an increase in homicides but a decrease in violent crimes. Tourism rates remain unchanged. However, other factors can also affect crime, violence and murder rates.

Gun control advocates complained that the study is inconclusive. One representative for a gun advocacy agency emphasized that if the state wants real answers, they might need to put more money into the project. However, the writer of the law related that the study shows the law has not hurt tourism or caused an increase in crime.

Most of the public testimony opposed the “Stand Your Ground” law. While not many people verbalized their thoughts, those who did expressed concerns that innocent people, some who were unarmed, were killed because of the law. In light of these apprehensions, the task force is discussing possible amendments to the law.  If you haven’t seen Zahra Umansky‘s take on the issue, please watch the video below.