I’m sure you are all shocked to learn this:
In April, more than a month after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, we looked the incidence of justifiable homicides in states with “stand your ground” or “castle doctrine” laws like Florida’s.
In general, such laws grant people more leeway to use lethal force on an attacker. More than 20 were passed after Florida’s in 2005. They typically do at least one of the following:
• Remove a person’s duty to retreat in places outside the home
• Add the presumption that the person who killed in self defense had a reasonable fear of death or harm
• Grant people who kill in self-defense immunity from civil lawsuits
Justifiable homicides nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010, according to the most recent data available, when 326 were reported. The data, provided by federal and state law enforcement agencies, showed a sharp increase in justifiable homicides occurred after 2005, when Florida and 16 other states passed the laws.
While the overall homicide rates in those states stayed relatively flat, the average number of justifiable cases per year increased by more than 50% in the decade’s latter half.
In a new study, an economics professor and a PhD student at Texas A&M University take a broader look at the laws’ effect. The authors, Professor Mark Hoekstra and Cheng Cheng, use state-level crime data from 2000 to 2009 to determine whether the laws deter crime.
The answer, they conclude, is no. In fact, the evidence suggests the laws have led to an increase in homicides.
In other words, stand your ground laws do EXACTLY what the critics of those laws said they would back when the laws were being debated:
“For a House that talks about the culture of life it’s ironic that we would be devaluing life in this bill,” said Democratic state Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach. “That’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Like many states, Florida courts have ruled that people have a right to defend themselves in their homes. Florida courts have expanded that “Castle Doctrine” to include employees in their workplaces and drivers who are attacked in their automobiles.
Outside the home, however, courts have ruled that most victims must at least attempt to escape before using deadly force, a provision gun advocates say puts victims at greater risk. The proposal removes that requirement if a person has a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.
Critics say the measure could lead to racially motivated killings and promote deadly escalations of arguments.
“All this bill will do is sell more guns and possibly turn Florida into the OK Corral,” said Democratic state Rep. Irv Slosberg of Boca Raton.
The bill passed in Florida, and was immediately signed by Gov. Jeb Bush. Yes- that would be the same Jeb Bush who is running around today bemoaning radical Republicans. You know, the same “moderate” Jeb Bush who signed the laws giving him permission to insert himself into Terri Schiavo’s marriage.
They are all radicals.