Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” gun law has generated controversy and conversation since its inception. According to a new study published this November in JAMA Internal Medicine, the law may have also resulted in a marked increase in homicides since it was first passed in 2005.
Analyzing statistics from local and state authorities from 1999 to 2014, researchers found that homicides in the Sunshine State rose by over 24%, and gun-related homicides increased by over 31% since “Stand Your Ground” was enacted under then-Governor Jeb Bush. Ultimately, the study concluded Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was directly associated with a substantial increase in homicides and homicides by firearms throughout the state.
Florida was the first of what now amounts to more than 20 states to expand self-defense legislation that includes protections for individuals who use lethal force in acts of self-defense. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law protects the use of deadly force even if escape is an option.
Since its passage, the law has been hot-button issue and criticized by many for having been supported and drafted by the NRA. It also received widespread attention following George Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Florida teen. At the time of its implementation, the Miami Chief of Police also expressed concern that the law could potentially become a “license to murder” capable of increasing the use of deadly force “where it shouldn’t be used.”
Matters involving violent crimes and physical confrontations between individuals are complex legal issues that can be further complicated when one or both parties claim self-defense. Whether deadly force is used or not, the stakes are high in these cases, and they demand the attention of skilled defense lawyers who have the ability to protect individuals who have been charged with crimes.
At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience protecting the rights of individuals who used self-defense and were later charged with crimes. If you or someone you love are involved in this situation, you can be confident about placing your case in the hands of former prosecutors and award-winning defense lawyers who understand the intricacies of these laws.