“Stand Your Ground” laws go by many names, including “Shoot First” and “Make My Day.” And, while the case of Trayvon Martin dying at the hands of George Zimmerman has brought to light Florida’s controversial law, there are actually 24 states who have some form of the “Stand Your Ground” law.
While their laws are not the same word for word, they have anything from laws that simply do not include a duty to retreat, to the full-on ability to act in self-defense, even allowing deadly force.
Florida was the first state to include a law that allows people to use deadly force if they are gravely threatened either in the home, or “any other place where he or she has a right to be.”
In Florida, the law is tough on prosecutors and judges, because once a self-defense claim has been made, it is up them to disprove it. In the Trayvon Martin case, the police report on the shooting refers to it as an “unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act.” In this though, no evidence has been found showing that Trayvon was going to commit an unlawful act.
Many of the “Stand Your Ground” laws in different states were created to help victims of domestic violence better defend themselves. As ProPublica asserts, “how could a battered wife retreat if she was attacked in her own home?”
Normally, state law requires a person to attempt to flee before deadly force can be used. In the 24 states that have a “Stand Your Ground” or “Shoot First” law, this is not required. Click here for a full list, where you can see each state, as well as the specific law.
Some of the states include Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas. While Florida was the first state to pass a law that allows people to use deadly force, some states never had a law requiring people to retreat in the first place.
Are you surprised by some of the states that are on this list?
Law School Professor Jonathan Turley from George Washington University explains the dangers of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law: