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Stand your ground laws


Stand-your-ground laws give individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without being required to retreat from a dangerous situation. Sometimes referred to as “shoot first” laws by detractors, these laws differ from previous standards by removing a person’s “duty to retreat” when confronted with what they perceive to be a life-threatening situation. The first stand-your-ground law was passed by Florida in 2005 and 25 other states have followed suit. Previously, more than half our states had already adopted the Castle Doctrine which states that a person has no duty to retreat when their home is attacked or invaded. Stand-your-ground laws go further, removing the duty to retreat from all other situations as well.

Critics say what makes stand-your-ground laws so radical is the law’s presumption of reasonable fear that justifies the use of deadly force. Previous laws required actual proof that the level of fear was great enough to require the use of lethal force in self-defense. There are many unprosecuted cases of a person shooting someone who is unarmed, laying on the ground or running away. One study showed that in nearly a third of unprosecuted stand-your-ground cases, defendants initiated the fight, shot an unarmed person or pursued their victim. It is estimated that at least 30 people are killed each month as a result of this stand your ground laws.

Proposed Legislation: H.R.2812 - Justice Exists for All of Us Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014)
Prospective Sponsor: Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (TX)












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Poll Opening Date
November 22, 2021
Poll Closing Date
November 28, 2021


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