Updated: Nov 7
Stand-your-ground laws are legal statutes that permit the use of deadly force as a means of self-defense when people feel threatened with death or serious bodily harm, as in crimes of rape, robbery, arson, kidnapping, or murder. Source
These laws provide that people may use deadly force when they reasonably believe it to be necessary to defend against certain violent crimes (right of self-defense). Under such a law, people have no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, so long as they are in a place where they are lawfully present. The exact details vary by jurisdiction. Source
Whether stand-your-ground laws are racist or not is a matter of debate. Some people argue that these laws disproportionately affect people of color and lead to more violence against them. Others argue that these laws are not racist and that they help protect people from violent crime. Source
However, a 2020 RAND Corporation review of existing research concluded: “There is supportive evidence that stand-your-ground laws are associated with increases in firearm homicides and moderate evidence that they increase the total number of homicides”. Source
It is important to note that the effects of stand-your-ground laws are complex and multifaceted, and that there is no clear consensus on their impact. Source
Conveniently buried amidst the concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently released a report entitled Race Effects of Stand Your Ground Laws. The report was released a mere five and a half years after the hearing on the topic.