Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and others like it have gained notoriety since the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin and a number of other similar cases. The laws, which exist in two dozen states, give gun-holders more authority to shoot and kill in self-defense and police wide latitude for interpretation.
Over a 10-year period there was an 8 percent increase in homicides in the states that passed Stand Your Ground laws, according to new research from Texas A&M University. The law did not deter burglary, robbery or assault either.
As to why this is the case, economist Mark Hoekstra told NPR that Stand Your Ground encourages more lethal force by lowering its costs:
“One possibility for the increase in homicide is that perhaps [in cases where] there would have been a fistfight … now, because of stand your ground laws, it’s possible that those escalate into something much more violent and lethal.”
In some instances the National Rifle Association has literally subsidized this cost by handling perpetrators’ legal bills in Stand Your Ground cases.