By Jueseppi B.
Throughout the month Of February, TheObamaCrat™ will post a daily series called The Black History Moment Series. Each day for 28 days of this historic month you will be given the food of Black History to satisfy your hunger for knowledge.
Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #21: Stand Your Ground Law.
Florida Stand Your Ground Victims: Who Will Be Next?
Published on Aug 29, 2013
these are only a few of the many unarmed victims in Florida who were killed by someone who invoked Stand Your Ground laws.
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A stand-your-ground law is a type of self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation. It is law in certain jurisdictions within the United States. The basis may lie in either statutory law or common law precedents or both. One key distinction is whether the concept applies only to defending lawfully occupied locations. Under these legal concepts, a person is justified in using deadly force in certain situations, and the stand-your-ground law would be a defense or immunity to criminal charges and civil suit. The difference between immunity and a defense is that an immunity bars suit, charges, detention, and arrest. A defense, including an affirmative defense, is a fact or set of facts that may avoid or mitigate the adverse legal consequences of the defendant’s otherwise unlawful conduct.
Forty-six states in the United States have adopted the castle doctrine, that a person has no duty to retreat whatsoever when their home is attacked. Twenty-two states go a step further, removing the duty of retreat from other locations outside the home. Such “stand your ground”, “Line in the Sand” or “No Duty to Retreat” laws thus state that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant. Under such laws, there is no duty to retreat from anywhere the defender may legally be. Other restrictions may still exist; such as when in public, a person must be carrying firearms in a legal manner, whether concealed or openly.
“Stand your ground” governs U.S. federal case law in which right of self-defense is asserted against a charge of criminal homicide. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Beard v. U.S. (158 U.S. 550 (1895)) that a man who was “on his premises” when he came under attack and “…did not provoke the assault, and had at the time reasonable grounds to believe, and in good faith believed, that the deceased intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm…was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground.” However, the Supreme Court decision did not create case law impugning a state’s authority to either adopt or invalidate stand-your-ground law.
Effect on crime rates
Supporters and critics of the law dispute whether or not it has an effect on crime rates. The third edition of More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott says that states adopting “stand your ground”/”castle doctrine” laws reduced murder rates by 9 percent and overall violent crime by 11 percent, and that occurs even after accounting for a range of other factors such as national crime trends, law enforcement variables (arrest, execution, and imprisonment rates), income and poverty measures, demographic changes, and the national average changes in crime rates from year-to-year and average differences across states.
A study by Texas A&M economics professors observed that the adoption of stand-your-ground laws correlated with a statistically significant increase in the raw homicide rate. Little to no relationship was seen between adoption of the law and a deterrence of crime. The authors of the study were unable to determine what percentage of the increase was justifiable homicide, due to the reporting of homicide to the FBI often lacking notation whether the homicide was justifiable or not.
Another analysis of stand-your-ground laws by economists at Georgia State, using monthly data from the U.S. Vital Statistics, observed a significant increase in homicide and injury of whites, especially white males. They also analyzed data from the Health Care Utilization Project, which revealed significantly increased rates of emergency room visits and hospital discharges related to gun injuries in states which enacted these laws.
In a 2007 National District Attorneys Association symposium, numerous concerns were voiced that the law could increase crime. This included criminals using the law as a defense for their crimes, more people carrying guns, and that people would not feel safe if they felt that anyone could use deadly force in a conflict. The report also noted that the misinterpretation of clues could result in use of deadly force when there was, in fact, no danger. The report specifically notes that racial and ethnic minorities could be at greater risk because of negative stereotypes. In Florida, use of the law by blacks and Hispanics has equaled or exceeded those killed.
Florida state representative Dennis Baxley, an author of the law, notes that crime rates in Florida dropped significantly between 2005, when the law was passed, and 2012. However, crime rates had been declining in Florida as well as nationally since at least 2000. Representative Baxley told Politifact Florida that he does not believe his law is the main reason for the drop in crime rates in Florida, but may be one of several reasons.
The Stanford Law Review found that aggravated assaults temporarily increased in those states with stand-your-ground.
Most states have some form of stand-your-ground law. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts (though the term is used very loosely there), Michigan,Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming have adopted Castle Doctrine statutes, and other states (Iowa, Virginia, and Washington) have considered stand-your-ground laws of their own.
Stand-your-ground laws are frequently criticized and called “shoot first” laws by critics, including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In Florida, self-defense claims tripled in the years following enactment. The law’s critics argue that Florida’s law makes it very difficult to prosecute cases against people who shoot others and then claim self-defense. The shooter can argue that he felt threatened, and in most cases, the only witness who could have argued otherwise is the deceased. This problem is inherent to all self-defense laws, not just stand your ground laws. Before passage of the law, Miami police chief John F. Timoney called the law unnecessary and dangerous in that “[w]hether it’s trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn’t want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house, you’re encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn’t be used.”
In Florida, a task force specially appointed by the governor issued a report concurring with the core principles of the state’s stand your ground law, but recommending further legislative clarification of the requirement that the person asserting the defense not be engaged in “unlawful activity.” The report also recommended legislative standards for recognized neighborhood watch groups. An independent task force was convened by a state senator, which issued its own report and submitted it to the Governor’s Task Force. Among its recommendations was the unanimous conclusion that claims of self-defense be submitted to a grand jury prior to prosecution. One of the witnesses before the independent task force complained that the law is “confusing.” Those testifying to the independent task force included Buddy Jacobs, a lawyer representing the Florida Prosecuting Attorney’s Association. Jacobs recommended the law’s repeal, feeling that modifying the law would not fix its problems.
In a July 16, 2013 speech in the wake of the jury verdict acquitting George Zimmerman of charges stemming from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Attorney General Eric Holder criticized stand-your-ground laws, saying they “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods.” The relevance of the stand-your-ground provision of the self-defense law to the Zimmerman case has been questioned, however, because Zimmerman claimed he was restrained at the time of the shooting and had no option to retreat. Although Zimmerman’s defense team did not use the “stand your ground” defense during their trial and instead opted to use “self-defense” as their official defense, Circuit Judge Debra Nelson’s instructions to the jury included the statement that he had no duty to retreat as per Florida’s stand-your-ground law.
States with Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine Laws
“Stand Your Ground Law” different states my differ slightly in their interpretation of the law:
Stand-your-ground laws allow someone to use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. Generally, these laws require the person to (1) have a legal right to be at the location and (2) not be engaged in an unlawful activity.
State with Stand Your Ground Laws in Place:
- New Hampshire
Castle Doctrine Definition – again my differ slightly depending on each state:
The Castle Doctrine is a common law doctrine that designates a person’s abode (or, in some states, any place legally occupied, such as a car or place of work) as a place in which the person has certain protections and immunities and allows such a person in certain circumstances, to attack an intruder instead of retreating. Typically, deadly force is considered justified homicide only in cases when the actor reasonably feared imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to oneself or another. The doctrine is not a defined law that can be invoked, but is a set of principles which is incorporated in some form in the law of most states. Forty-six states, includingConnecticut, have incorporated the Castle Doctrine into law.
States with Castle Doctrine laws in place
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
My advice to anyone of color is to avoid these states listed above unless you are armed legally and have a concealed carry permit.
Concealed carry, or CCW (carrying a concealed weapon), refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in close proximity. Not all weapons that fall under CCW controls are lethal. For example, in Florida, carrying pepper spray in more than a specified volume (2 oz.) of chemical requires a CCW permit, whereas anyone may legally carry a smaller, so-called, “self-defense chemical spray” device hidden on their person without a CCW permit.
While there is no federal law specifically addressing the issuance of concealed carry permits, all 50 states have passed laws allowing citizens to carry certain concealed firearms in public, either without a permit or after obtaining a permit from local government and/or law enforcement. Illinois had been the last state without such a provision – but its long-standing ban on concealed weapons was overturned in a federal appeals court, on constitutional grounds. Illinois was required by the court to draft a concealed carry law by July 9, 2013 (including a 30-day extension) at which time the Illinois legislature, over-riding the amendatory veto of the governor who had sought to impose many restrictions, approved concealed carry to begin January 2014, at the latest.
The states give different terms for licenses or permits to carry a concealed firearm, such as a Concealed Handgun License/Permit (CHL/CHP), Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW), Concealed (Defensive/Deadly) Weapon Permit/License (CDWL/CWP/CWL), Concealed Carry Permit/License (CCP/CCL), License To Carry (Firearms) (LTC/LTCF), Carry of Concealed Deadly Weapon license (CCDW), Concealed Pistol License (CPL), etc. Thirteen states use a single permit to regulate the practices of both concealed and open carry of a handgun.
Some states publish statistics indicating how many residents hold permits to carry concealed weapons, and their demographics. For example, Florida has issued 2,031,106 licenses since adopting its law in 1987, and had 843,463 licensed permit holders as of July 31, 2011. Reported permit holders are predominantly male. Some states have reported the number of permit holders increasing over time. ”With hard numbers or estimates from all but three of the 49 states that have laws allowing for issuance of carry permits, the GAO reports that there were about 8 million active permits in the United States as of December 31, 2011. That’s about a million more than previous estimates by scholars.”
The number of permits revocations is typically small. The grounds for revocation in most states, other than expiration of a time-limited permit without renewal, is typically the commission of a gross misdemeanor or felony by the permit holder. While these crimes are often firearm-related (including unlawful carry), a 3-year study of Texas crime statistics immediately following passage of CHL legislation found that the most common crime committed by CHL holders that would be grounds for revocation was actually DUI, followed by unlawful carry and then aggravated assault. The same study concluded that Texas CHL holders were always less likely to commit any particular type of crime than the general population, and overall were 13 times less likely to commit any crime.
Regulations differ widely by state, with most states currently maintaining a “Shall-Issue” policy. As recently as the mid-’90s most states were No-Issue or May-Issue, but over the past 30 years states have consistently migrated to less restrictive alternatives. For detailed information on individual states’ permitting policies, see Gun laws in the United States by state.
State regulations relating to the issuance of concealed carry permits generally fall into four categories described as Unrestricted, Shall Issue, May issue and No Issue.
Among U.S.states, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont and Wyoming allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
For a complete list of permit regulations state by state:
I suggest Black Americans take a page from our racist caucasian brethren and man up and arm up to defend our ground and the lives of our children.
It’s Stand YOUR Ground right now. It needs to be STAND OUR GROUND.
Black American Injustice Continues: Commute The 25 Year Mandatory Minimum Sentence For Michael Giles.
Celebrating ‘Guns Save Lives Day’ – ‘South Carolina Man Gets Off Thanks To ‘Stand Your Ground’ After Shooting And Killing Innocent Bystander’
Lucy McBath, National Spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, to Testify at U.S. Senate Stand Your Ground Hearing
Mother of Trayvon Martin Tells Senate Panel “Stand Your Ground” Laws Do Not Work and Should be Changed
New Stand Your Ground Case: Caucasian Motorist in Accident Gunned Down In Poor Neighborhood Looking for Help
In case you missed any of the post of this “Black History Moment Series”……
In Case You Missed This Series….Black History Month 2014 Presents: Celebrating Black History Month; The Black History Moment Series.