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A new report documents an increase in homicides in states with controversial Stand Your Ground laws and shows the disproportionate impact they have on African Americans.

Homicides soar in states with 'Stand Your Ground' laws

Many of the 22 states that have enacted "Stand Your Ground" self-defense laws -- like the one at the center of the controversy over last year's shooting death of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of shooter George Zimmerman -- have experienced a dramatic jump in the number of homicides, with African Americans disproportionately affected.

That's the finding of a new report from the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition in collaboration with the National Urban League and VoteVets. It was issued Sept. 16, the day before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is scheduled to hold a hearing on the effect of such laws, which allow people to use deadly force in public places even if they can avoid the conflict by safely leaving the area.

The report, titled "Shoot First: 'Stand Your Ground Laws and Their Effect on Violent Crime and the Criminal Justice System," found that states with such laws 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 such laws saw justifiable homicides fall by an average of 5 percent.

The increase was not simply the result of more homicides being classified as "justifiable" but of an overall rise in firearm-related and total homicides in Stand Your Ground states, the report found.

The jump in homicides deemed justifiable was particularly dramatic in some states, especially in the South. The average annual number of such killings rose by 54 percent in Texas, 83 percent in Georgia, 200 percent in Florida, and an eye-popping 725 percent in Kentucky.

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 significantly higher before passage of Stand Your Ground laws, the subsequent increase has also been more dramatic. As the report notes:

Among people shot to death in the black population in states with Stand Your Ground laws, the rate of those homicides found to be justifiable more than doubled between 2005 and 2011, while it fell in the rest of the country.

"These laws can have deadly consequences, particularly for African Americans," said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. "We need our elected officials to reform these policies to make sure we're doing the right things to reduce unjustified shootings and save lives."


In 2005, amid heavy lobbying by the National Rifle Association, Florida became the first state to pass a Stand Your Ground law. Since then, 21 other states have adopted similar laws. Ten of those states are in the South: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. The others are Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.

Since the Martin shooting, lawmakers in at least 11 states including Florida have introduced legislation to repeal or scale back their Stand Your Ground laws. Last June, Louisiana became the first state to pass reform legislation. Meanwhile, leaders in Florida have convened two task forces to assess how the laws affect public safety, and the U.S Commission on Civil Rights has launched a special investigation into the association between Stand Your Ground laws and racial bias.

For more information on the Sept. 17 Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, click here. Among those scheduled to testify are Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother.

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A new report documents an increase in homicides in states with controversial Stand Your Ground laws and shows the disproportionate impact they have on African Americans.
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Comments

Trolls-Never Seen So Many

This site certainly has 'em. Trollish commentary occurs whenever certain buttons in the human psyche get pushed and results in an extreme and irrational defensive reaction that creates false controversy. This happens because, either on a conscious or unconscious level, the writer of the comment is aware of the fact that the oppositional belief that he holds is wrong; whether morally and/or ethically and/or factually.
In returning to the article: it is embarrassingly obvious that even a 50% increase in homicide rates (whether or not "justifiable") is unbelievably gratuitous. Anyone who will not see that the above percentages of increase (54%, 83%, 200%, 725%) are unwarranted, inappropriate, disproportionate is either clinically insane, mentally deficient or willfully ignorant. Nothing excuses these figures.

stand your ground

So the number of justifiable homicides has gone up with SYG. To me this seems like a good thing. More criminals are being taken out once and for all. No more free food and lodging for them. Saves the tax payer a lot of money.

Stand your ground

Hmmm

So instead of citizens trying to run away and getting shot, stabbed or beaten they are now exercising their god given and Constitutional right to defend themselves. And just how long will it be in those locals before the "felons" decide that maybe just maybe it is time to find a new profession. After all even the most dim witted felon eventually comes to the realization that getting shot is often a career ending experience.

The fact that this was

The fact that this was commissioned by Bloomberg's "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" is suspect enough to question how the facts were twisted to reach the conclusion they were looking for. Here's a guy that that wants to control the size of soft drinks people can buy because he knows what is good for them. Explain to me how is it that a guy that is in the top 1% of the 1 percenter's, that are so vilified by the "Occupy Wall Street", bunch now is so believable and is looking out for the best interest of us "common folk". Garbage in garbage out I say.

Liberalism KILLS

Gee. Maybe if Liberals didn't TRAIN Blacks to believe the world owes them a living, and that criminal activity is perfectly normal for 'them', just MAYBE Blacks wouldn't be dying in such numbers. So because CRIMINALS are dying, libs scream racism. I guess they're right. Liberals ARE Racist, and have been working for this result for a long time now.

Congratulations!

If they're justified

then what's the problem?Has it occurred to you that the reason they've risen is because more people are attacked in those states & they need Stand your Ground laws. Maybe more Negras are justifiably shot because more Negras are doing the attacking. I normally support what you print here but this is another case of warping the facts to fit your agenda. Taking lessons from Rush are you?

RE: If they're justified

Would you please define the term "Negras"? Is that a sly word you are using in place for the word you really want to use? If you're going to post your racist comments, why don't you have the BALLS to use the term you really want to use! People like you make me feel ashamed to be an American!!

Misleading statistics.

Seriously? So, if say 1 justifiable death occurs in one year and the next year 2 occur that is a 100% increase. Protecting ones self from criminal activity should not be an issue. What I gather from this article is that you should just let criminals do their thing and pray they don't kill you in the mean time.The right to self defense should never be denied. Yet, it seem that the law breakers have more rights than the law abiding citizen. Shame!

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