Mayors Against Illegal Guns, National Urban League, VoteVets Release Report Showing 'Stand Your Ground' Laws Have Increased Homicides and Complicated Prosecutions

Analysis Finds Sharp Jump in Homicides – Justifiable and Overall – After Passage of NRA-Endorsed Legislation in Many States, With African Americans Affected Most

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on September 17th

The bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, in collaboration with the National Urban League and VoteVets, issued a new report today showing that many of the 22 states with “Stand Your Ground” laws have experienced a striking increase in the number of justifiable homicides committed by private citizens in the years following their enactment. 

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:

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. Texas A&M University researchers published a study in May 2012 that found passage of Stand Your Ground laws was associated with a seven to nine percent increase in total homicides, depending on the statistical method used.

Click here to read the full press release.