Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law was accompanied by a strong increase in the number of murders in the state, according to a new study whose lead author, said that he hoped that it would prompt lawmakers to re-examine the impact of the law, and to consider the change.
However, some researchers questioned the suggestion in the study that published this month in the JAMA Internal Medicine, a top medical journal, of a link between the murder-rate increase and the Florida self-defense law. Previous research on the “stand your ground” laws have produced mixed results.
Florida was one of the first to expand the concept of self-defense outside the home, with a 2005 law for the protection of people who use lethal violence in response to a threat that they reasonably believe could cause them serious injury, even when escape is an option.
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Florida’s law is one of about two dozen in the entire country that statehouses passed from 2005 to 2011, encouraged by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups.
Figures from Florida authorities had already indicated that it justified murder, or who are deemed to be in self-defense have tripled to an annual average of 36 in the five years after the passage of Florida’s law. But the study found that the law was linked to an increase in the number of murders in general.
The act eliminated a longstanding legal duty to retreat in situations outside the home, the average monthly number of homicides in Florida was dead 0.49 per 100,000 people, while the monthly firearm-related murder rate 0.29 death per 100,000.
The researchers looked at the data from 1999 to 2014, a 24% increase in Florida is the monthly number of homicides and a 32% increase in the monthly rate of firearm-related homicides following the law’s passage, according to the study.
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