Stand Your Ground laws are not a license to kill and don’t make murder legal

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

“Another day, another brazen lie” is the gun control movement’s strategy as the writers here have documented numerous times before. One of the lies that’s continuously repeated by Gun Grab Lobby is that Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws allow people to “shoot first” with careless abandon. The paid, professional liars at Everytown did this just yesterday.

Shoot First laws—commonly known as Stand Your Ground laws — essentially make murder legal. “Stand Your Ground” is an intentional choice by the gun lobby to misrepresent what these laws really are.

Really? SYG laws “essentially make murder legal”?

To verify what a typical SYG law actually states, let’s take a look at the text of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law.

776.012 Use or threatened use of force in defense of person.—

(1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.

(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

 

The text of the law makes it clear that the use of defensive force is lawful only if a person reasonably believes that such force is necessary. The word “reasonable” is key; when someone uses force unreasonably, they get convicted for it. The law does not say anything about shooting another person first as Everytown falsely claims.

Second, the law applies only if the person using defensive force is not engaged in a criminal activity and has a right to be present in the place when the need to use defensive force is created by the actions of another. Again, there’s nothing about “shoot first” in the text of the statute.

Unlike traditional self-defense laws in all 50 states, Shoot First laws make it legal for anyone to shoot and kill another person in a situation, even where they know they could have safely walked away.

 

Everytown’s lying serves two purposes here: first, to attack our right to bear arms in self-defense (their corporate mission), and second, to support criminals in the commission of crime. Everytown’s unreasonable demand that victims walk away when faced with what a reasonable person would understand to be “imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony” shows who they really side with. 

Notice how Everytown intentionally fails to distinguish between justifiable homicides, which are the outcome of reasonable, lawful use of force under SYG laws, with homicides overall which include criminals who are killed by their victims in self-defense, using weapons that may or may not even include guns.

Everytown proceeds to throw in “racism” into the mix. 

 

Their claim will take an entire article to critique, but it can be explained by interracial violent crime statistics straight from the FBI, but that said, we should never let statistics blind us – not every black person is a criminal, not every white person is a klansman, not every Chinese-American is a Kung Fu and math wizard, and not every Indian-American person owns a gas station and writes software. As Cam wrote yesterday, about 500 offenders in Washington D.C. – mostly high-risk young Black male adults – are responsible for 70% of D.C.’s violence. There are over 300,000 black Americans in D.C., so 500 offenders out of that population is a puny 0.167% of the total D.C. black population that’s responsible.

As Everytown continues their lying like clockwork and gets their media partners to amplify those lies, we have to take them head on and address them tirelessly and persistently. I hope the reader highlights the actual text of a typical SYG law above to show to their friends and family what the law actually says versus what the press reports it as.