What is the Stand Your Ground Law? 

Amber Turner, Student

The stand your ground law allows citizens to use deadly force if feeling threatened by another. This law was passed in Florida in 2005.  

As stated by the 2019 Florida Statues Chapter 77, person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. (“Self Defense – Justifiable Use of Non-Deadly Force …”) A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force. (“Florida Statutes Title XLVI. Crimes § 776.012 | FindLaw”) Expressing that if you truly feel in danger, you will act upon fear. 

 Racial Profiling and Bias of the Stand Your Ground Law 

Though the origin of the idea was acceptable, to only act if you know that you are unquestionably in danger is taken advantage of by many. This law allows people to perform literal homicide with no repercussions, homicides that make up a bit over 55% of African Americans. In fact, racial bias is usually a significant factor in most results for the Stand Your Ground Law. Research shows that over 72% of defendants who killed African Americans were not penalized or indicted for their actions. While only 59% of defendants of white homicides also under the Stand Your Ground law has not been penalized.  

Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights shares and confirms that, in fact, there is an overflow of people of color who are homicide victims of the Stand Your Ground Law. Michel Adams fatally stabbed 17-year-old African American Elijah al-Amin on July 4th, 2019. Adams reasoning for the homicide was that “people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community.” (“17-Year-Old Elijah Al-Amin Killed for Listening to Rap …”) BuzzFeednews.com reports that Adams felt “unsafe” around rap music, rap specifically played by black, Latino, and Native Americans. The claim of Adams supports that people of color are the main targets of the Stand Your Ground Law.  

Former Miami Police Chief John Timoney voices his opinion, “Whether it’s trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn’t want them there, or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house, you’re encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn’t be used.” (“17 Major Pros and Cons of the Stand Your Ground Law …”) 

Homicide Increases 

The University of Oxford reports that Florida’s homicide rate has increased by 24.4% since Florida passes the Stand Your Ground Law. Over 31.6 % of homicides result in using deadly firearms. The American Bar Association stated that most self-defense cases that resulin the “aggressor” injured or dead are not serious crimes. 

In conclusion, the Stand Your Ground Law should be repealed because it results in racial bias, racial profiling, and a rise in homicides.