In a New York Times op-ed piece, Robert J. Spitzer, political scientist at SUNY Cortland and author of “Guns Across America, Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights,” asserts that, “Stand Your Ground makes no sense.” In the 10 years since Florida enacted its Stand Your Ground law, roughly half the states have passed this law or one like it. Under this law, a person who has harmed or killed another in a public place can assert that force was necessary to prevent serious harm or death and be “immune from criminal prosecution and civil action.” These laws have not increased public safety and have “turned the clock back to the mythologized mayhem of the Wild West.”
In a study done by the Tampa Bay Times on the effects of this 2005 Florida law, the chief beneficiaries of this law were “those with records of crime and violence.”
“Stand Your Ground claims succeeded 67 percent of the time, but in 79 percent of the cases, the assailant could have retreated to avoid the confrontation.”
Not only is there no evidence that these laws provide any sort of deterrence for burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault, but researchers at Texas A&M University saw a homicide increase of 8 percent in states with new Stand Your Ground laws.
Considering the fact that more than 11 million American have concealed carry licenses, America is in dire need of policies such as “safe retreat” to prevent violent confrontation in public places. As early as the 17th century America was enacting laws against publicly wearing weapons to curtail widespread violence.
“Why must we relearn a lesson we codified centuries ago? How dumb are we?”