Stand your ground and contribute to the cycle of violence

Stand Your Ground Laws and Homicides, Chandler B. McClellan, Erdal Tekin

Since 2005, eighteen states have passed legislation that has extended the right to self-defense, with no duty to retreat, to places a person has a legal right to be, and several other states are debating to introduce similar legislation. The controversies surrounding these laws have captured the nation’s attention recently. Despite significant implications that they may have on public safety, there has been little empirical investigation of the impact of these laws on crime and victimization. In this paper, we examine how Stand Your Ground laws that extend the right to self-defense to areas outside the home affect homicides using monthly data from the U.S. Vital Statistics. We identify the impact of these laws by exploiting the variation in the effective date of these laws across states. Our results indicate that Stand Your Ground laws are associated with a significant increase in the number of homicides among whites, especially white males. According to our estimates, between 4.39 and 7.44 additional white males are killed each month as a result of these laws. We find no evidence to suggest that these laws increase homicides among blacks. Our results are robust to a number of specifications and unlikely to be driven entirely by the killings of assailants. Taken together, our findings raise serious doubts against the argument that Stand Your Ground laws make America safer.

This entry was posted in Economics and public policy. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sancho
Sancho
9 years ago

Stand you ground laws are this, but with people.

That’s not even satire, because SYG supporters are often explicit about it.