Firearms Killings Rise in Years Since Stand Your Ground Law Enacted

Ever since Florida’s so-called stand your ground law was thrust into the national spotlight due to the 2012 Trayvon Martin case, the law has been a hot topic issue both politically and legally. A recent study is now providing new information with regards to whether the law has been an effective one.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that Florida has seen an “abrupt and sustained” increase in killings by firearm since the state enacted the controversial stand your ground law in 2005. The study also indicates that the monthly rate of homicides by firearm increased a troubling 31.6%.

Some, however, did not find these results unexpected. To the contrary, Charles Rose — a Stetson University College of Law professor — says the findings are not a surprise whatsoever. Rose argues the results are not surprising because “when you lessen the standard for self-defense you create more opportunity for the use of deadly force. When you have more opportunity for the use of deadly force you are going to have more fatalities. It’s pretty much guaranteed.”

While the law has long been the subject of scrutiny, the fact of the matter remains that it continues to be a strong legal defense for defendants who are charged with murder.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

The stand your ground law, for reference, eliminated the duty for a citizen to retreat if they reasonably believed that deadly force was a necessity to prevent:

  • Imminent Death
  • Great Bodily Harm
  • A Forcible Felony

The law is used as a protection against both criminal prosecution and lawsuits. As the law currently stands, criminal defendants are permitted to request a stand your ground hearing in the attempt to convince a Florida judge the shooting was justified under Florida law. If a judge agrees, the stand your ground defense can be used to have the defendant’s charges dropped.

However, it must be noted that the burden of proof in such a hearing is on the defendant. If you have been charged with a crime in relation to a Florida shooting and believe that your use of force was necessary to prevent imminent death, great bodily harm or a forcible felony, you need to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who will help you determine whether you have a viable defense under the stand your ground law.

John F. Greene is a criminal defense lawyer who helps defendants get their charges reduced or dismissed by raising every possible legal defense, including the stand your ground law when applicable. From his office in Destin, John defends individuals charged with crimes in Destin as well as defendants throughout Northwest Florida and the Emerald Coast, including Santa Rosa, Bay, Walton and Okaloosa Counties. Further, John also represents defendants in the communities of Destin, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, Panama City and Santa Rosa Beach.

Contact attorney John F. Greene or call 850-424-6833 if you are in need of a Florida criminal defense lawyer to protect your legal rights and put forth strong legal defenses on your behalf.


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