New Hampshire House Approves Stand Your Ground Repeal

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is on a criminal justice roll. Last week, legislators voted to prohibit private prisons. This week, they passed a bill to repeal the ALEC-sponsored Stand Your Ground law, which authorizes the unfettered use of deadly force in self-defense. The NRA-backed laws, also known as “Kill at Will,” gained notoriety after the tragic killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Police cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law as the reason for not initially arresting the suspect in that case. Reuters reports:

The National Rifle Association and gun rights supporters had campaigned to defeat the bill repealing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, arguing the change would embolden criminals and lead to greater violence against women.

The bill passed by a roll call vote of 189–184 after a heated debate. The proposed change may face tougher odds in the state Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans.

If repealed, the state would return to the so-called “castle doctrine” under which there is a duty to retreat from a threatening situation unless it occurs inside a person’s home. […]


New Hampshire passed a number of laws loosening control on gun usage in 2011, when Republicans commanded large majorities in both chambers. Since regaining control of the House, Democrats have sought to push back on some of these measures.

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, a Florida committee to reform the bill stacked with lawmakers who first proposed the law did not recommend any substantive changes, in spite of empirical research finding these laws were associated with a significant increase in homicides. Some 21 states have laws establishing that there is no duty to retreat, and at least nine include language stating that one may “stand his or her ground,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The NRA has gone so far to offer insurance to cover the costs of a Stand Your Ground defense.