‘Stand Your Ground’ laws tied to racial inequities, increase in violent crime, researchers say

Laws that expand the right to shoot to kill in perceived self-defense yield unequal consequences in the justice system depending on whether the person shot was white, according to research published Monday.

So-called “stand your ground” laws, one of which was passed in Ohio last year, are also associated with a modest to robust increase in violent crime rates in states that implemented them, according to findings published in the American Journal of Public Health.

There’s variation in the data. For instance, Florida, the first state to implement the idea in 2005, experienced a “robust” increase in violent crime rates, whereas the effect was more muted elsewhere.

“I think what we can really decisively say is there’s no positive effect of these laws,” said lead researcher and MAP postdoctoral fellow Dr. Alexa Yakubovich in an interview. “There’s no evidence that these laws are reducing violence or reducing crime.”

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