Blacks in High-Crime Areas ‘Most Likely Beneficiaries of Stand Your Ground Laws’

In this March 31, 2016 photo, Baltimore Police Department Officer Jordan Distance walks past signs in a row home's window during a foot patrol in Baltimore. In the year since Freddie Gray died, the Baltimore police department has worked on its relationship with the community and tried to heal wounds …

In his latest book, The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies, John R. Lott Jr. demonstrates that blacks in “high-crime urban areas” are the “most likely beneficiaries of Stand Your Ground laws.”

His findings are well-documented and undercut mainstream media and liberal politicians’ claims that blacks are actually harmed by Stand Your Ground.

Lott indicates that George Zimmerman’s acquittal in Travyon Martin’s death is often cited as proof that Stand Your Ground is harmful to blacks. Yet he explains that Stand Your Ground was not even invoked by Zimmerman’s defense team. Instead, Zimmerman’s acquittal rested on claims of self-defense supported by “forensic and eye-witness evidence [indicating] that Zimmerman was on his back and being held down by Trayvon Martin” when he fired his gun.

Lott contends that the fight against Stand Your Ground which followed that incident overlooks the fact that blacks have the most to gain from laws that allow them to defend their lives without a requirement to retreat.

In The War on Guns, Lott covers Stand Your Ground laws broadly for the time period of 1977-2012. He shows that “murder, rape, and aggravated assaults all consistently fall” when Stand Your Ground laws are enacted, regardless of racial components. But with a focus on race for the time period of “2005 through October 1, 2014,” Lott isolates numbers in Florida to show that blacks benefited from Stand Your Ground more than whites. He wrote:

From 2005 through October 1, 2014, blacks made up 16.7 percent of Florida’s population and 34 percent of the defendants who invoked Stand Your Ground. Black defendants who invoke this statute are actually acquitted four percentage points more frequently that whites who use this very same defense.

Lott highlights how the benefits for blacks are lost in the rhetoric that characterizes the attack on Stand Your Ground. He quotes Tavis Smiley, who said during a 2013 appearance on ABC’s This Week, “It appears to me, and I think many other persons in this country, that you can, in fact, stand your ground unless you are a black man.”

In The War on Guns, Lott counters Smiley’s claim, writing, “In fact, blacks living in high-crime urban areas are the most likely victims of violent crime and the most likely beneficiaries of Stand Your Ground laws. Blacks are disproportionately affected by rules that make self-defense more difficult.”

Lott includes a study by the Tampa Bay Times that sheds even more light on this matter by showing that “in cases in which Stand Your Ground was invoked as a defense, 76 percent of blacks were killed by other blacks.” He laments the “tragedy that blacks are most likely to be victims of violent crime”–including violent crime carried out by other blacks–but he warns that the solution to this problem does not lie in limiting the self-defense options for those under attack.

He writes, “Blacks have the most to gain from Stand Your Ground laws.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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