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12:17 AM / Wednesday July 6, 2022

23 Feb 2014

Kill at will: Stand Your Ground laws contribute to 600 additional homicides a year

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February 23, 2014 Category: Stateside Posted by:

By Christina Coleman global grind

Here’s some sobering news.

A new study in the Journal of Human Resources reveals that the controversial Stand Your Ground laws in states across the U.S. contribute to 600 additional homicides a year.

This news comes just as the nation learned that 26 children or teens have died in Florida alone under the “kill at will” self-defense law.

According to Mark Hoestra, co-author of the study:

We asked what happened to homicide rates in states that passed these laws between 2000 and 2010, compared to other states over the same time period. We found that homicide rates in states with a version of the Stand Your Ground law increased by an average of 8 percent over states without it — which translates to roughly 600 additional homicides per year. These homicides are classified by police as criminal homicides, not as justifiable homicides.

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It is fitting that much of this debate has centered on Florida, which enacted its law in October of 2005. Florida provides a case study for this more general pattern. Homicide rates in Florida increased by 8 percent from the period prior to passing the law (2000-04) to the period after the law (2006-10).By comparison, national homicide rates fell by 6 percent over the same time period. This is a crude example, but it illustrates the more general pattern that exists in the homicide data published by the FBI.

The critical question for our research is whether this relative increase in homicide rates was caused by these laws. Several factors lead us to believe that laws are in fact responsible. First, the relative increase in homicide rates occurred in adopting states only after the laws were passed, not before. Moreover, there is no history of homicide rates in adopting states (like Florida) increasing relative to other states. In fact, the post-law increase in homicide rates in states like Florida was larger than any relative increase observed in the last 40 years. Put differently, there is no evidence that states like Florida just generally experience increases in homicide rates relative to other states, even when they don’t pass these laws.

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