A law currently in effect called “Stand Your Ground” expands the boundaries of self-defense to include the killing of a person who is–or appears to be–threatening. This legislature can contribute to a culture of violence. Under this “shoot-first” law, people are essentially given a license to kill in the name of self-defense. It increases the possibility of typical everyday conflicts being resolved with firearms, such as road rage, neighborly disputes, and suspicion due to racial discrimination — a very drastic measure for such small disputes. This “self-defense” excuse will undoubtedly lead to more fatalities from gunfire because it is so easy for people to defend their intentions when the law provides them with a “right” for self-defense; it can also can lead to an increase in “street justice.” In Florida, for example, the number of “justifiable” killings has tripled since the “Stand Your Ground” law was passed in 2005. When people are allowed to take the law into their own hands, the rights of others often get trampled.
No one is immune to the issue at hand; it affects the entire population because one can never be certain if others — neighbors, friends, family members, etc. — are packing heat. This apparent danger and the fear it causes in people have already increased since the “Stand Your Ground” law was initially passed, and they will only continue to do so if similar laws are passed in the future. This legislation puts innocent people at a higher risk of being shot in the name of “self-defense.” In short, “Stand Your Ground” creates more trouble than it’s worth.