Florida is on the verge of adopting enhanced Stand Your Ground measures to further protect the ability to use lethal force in self-defense, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch warns this could lead to more homicides in Missouri.
Breitbart News reported on March 10 that Florida Republicans were pushing legislation that would put the onus on the state when self-defense was claimed. It forces “prosecutors to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that a defendant’s claim to self-defense was not valid” before a case could go to trial. In other words, the state law-abiding citizen who used a gun for self-defense would be innocent until proven guilty, and his or her claim of acting in self-defense would be valid unless the state could demonstrate otherwise.
The New York Times went apoplectic over this legislation, claiming the original Stand Your Ground law was bad and the enhancements only make it worse.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has now joined the fray of naysayers with an editorial that claims enhancing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law could lead to enhancing Missouri’s Stand Your Ground Law, which may only lead to more homicides in Missouri.
The outlet writes, “In the tumble-down effect that Republican-controlled states have on each other, there’s little doubt that similar legislation will surface in Missouri. Critics say a reduced fear of prosecution could prompt an increase in homicides.”
The editorial later cites the example of 17-year-old Jordan Davis as an example of the dangers of Stand Your Ground. Davis was a black teen who was shot and killed by a white man, Michael Dunn, over loud music in November 2012. The problem with this example is that Dunn was given life in prison for the shooting, without the possibility of parole. Therefore, it was not a case that fell under the protections of Stand Your Ground.
This effort to flee to examples of white-on-black shootings to undermine Stand Your Ground is itself undermined by Crime Prevention Research Center’s John Lott. His latest work on Stand Your Ground shows that the law actually benefits blacks in Florida more than whites. In his book, The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies, Lott explains, “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.” He adds, “Black defendants who invoke this statute are actually acquitted four percentage points more frequently than whites who use this very same defense.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.