Study: Self-Defense Laws Increase Homicides

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 09: Grace Miranda and other supporters of Trayvon Martin gather for a rally in front of Florida Senator Marco Rubio's (R-FL) office to ask him to retract his support for Florida's so called 'Stand Your Ground' gun law following the Trayvon Martin killing on April 9, …
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A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) claims Florida’s stand your ground law results in a higher rate of justifiable homicides as well as homicides overall.

Of course, a higher rate of justifiable homicides should be expected — until criminals catch on to the fact that law-abiding citizens are not required by law to retreat when under attack. But what about JAMA‘s claim that stand your ground laws produce a higher rate of homicides overall?

According to The Wall Street Journal, the study shows that Florida’s justifiable homicides “tripled to an annual average of 36 in the five years after the passage of [stand your ground]” in 2005.

Prior to 2005, “the average monthly homicide rate in Florida was 0.49 death per 100,000 people, while the monthly firearm-related homicide rate was 0.29 death per 100,000.” But researchers “found a 24% increase in Florida’s monthly homicide rate and a 32% increase in the monthly rate of firearm-related killings following the law’s passage.”

Again, this material is being presented as the result of a law that “eliminated a longstanding legal duty to retreat” instead of being legally able to defend oneself when under attack — including lethal defense. At the same time, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says that “overall, violent crime in Florida, a category that includes assault and rape in addition to homicide,” fell following the passage of stand your ground.

Quinnipiac University economics professor Mark Gius says the study published by JAMA “overlooked other potential reasons for a swing in homicide rates.” He did his own study of “crime data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and found no relationship between the enactment of ‘stand your ground laws’ and either homicide or firearm homicide.”

Nevertheless, WSJ reminds everyone that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, in February 2012. The shot proved fatal, and Zimmerman was acquitted of any wrongdoing by a jury of his peers.

WSJ describes Zimmerman as a “white neighborhood watch volunteer.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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