Written Statement on Stand Your Ground Laws
United States “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) laws extend immunity to prosecution or civil suit for the use of deadly force in self-defense beyond the home, without imposing a duty to retreat. SYG laws are overbroad and prone to amplifying existing racial biases. Studies have shown that the number of justifiable homicides has increased in those states that have implemented some form of SYG laws.
The U.S. State of Florida, whose SYG law was the first passed in the U.S. and among the most expansive of its kind, is the site of the controversial killing of African American teenager, Trayvon Martin, which resulted in the acquittal on a charge of murder against George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic man. In Florida, data has shown that in cases in which SYG was raised as a defense, a defendant who killed a white person was two times more likely to be convicted of a crime than when a defendant killed an African American person.