Report: "Justifiable homicides" spike in Florida, other states with SYG laws
States with Stand Your Ground self-defense laws have experienced a "striking" increase in the number of justifiable homicides, according to a report released Monday by the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition.
The report was issued a day before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is to consider the law enforcement and public safety implications of laws some critics call “Shoot First” statutes.
The report -- Shoot First: ‘Stand Your Ground Laws and Their Effect on Violent Crime and the Criminal Justice System -- provides a comprehensive review of a legal phenomenon that drew national attention after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The study details how these laws have tilted self-defense claims in favor of shooters, sharply increasing successful claims that fatal shootings were justified while boosting the overall homicide rates. The report also provides an analysis of the Stand Your Ground laws in each of the 22 states that have adopted them since Florida passed the nation’s first in 2005.
The report is available at: http://maig.us/186JLnh.
According to the report’s authors, Stand Your Ground states have seen their “justifiable homicide” rate rise by an average of 53 percent in five years following their passage. Over the same period, states without these laws saw justifiable homicides fall by an average of five percent.
The report explains that this increase is not simply the result of more homicides being classified as "justifiable," but also of an overall increase in firearm-related and overall homicides in Stand Your Ground states.
"Our coalition joined with the National Urban League and VoteVets to give state legislators the tools they need to understand the impact Stand Your Ground laws have on prosecutions and public safety," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "We hope the results will encourage them to review these laws to determine whether they’re helping their communities, or making the public less safe.”
In states that passed these laws between 2005 and 2007, the justifiable homicide rate was 53 percent higher in the years after passage of the law than in the years preceding it. The jump in justifiable homicides was particularly large in some states: the average annual number jumped by 200 percent in Florida.