Stand Your Ground Laws: What You Need to Know

As many of you have heard, the United States is facing the tragic reality of gun violence. However, it wasn’t just one incident of gun violence that shocked us; it was multiple incidences of people dying of gun violence. These incidents include the young boy who was shot after ringing the wrong door bell in Missouri (according to CBC) and the cheerleader who was shot going into the wrong car in Texas (according to the guardian). Although you may hear the same talking points you may have already heard before about preventing shootings like these, there is another equally as important thing you should know about that links these two incidents. I’m talking about Standing Your Ground Laws.

  First passed in the Florida State Legislature in 2005, Stand Your Ground Laws allowed for someone to disregard the option to retreat before using force. There are also similar laws known as “Castle Doctrines” that give people the right to use force to defend their home before considering the option of retreating. These kinds of laws not only can apply to one’s home, but it can also apply to someone defending himself in a public place such as a park depending on the state you are in (all of this according to

These laws are something that the NRA has promoted for almost a decade and a half. Between the years 2004 and 2010, the NRA donated over $125,000 to the Florida Republican Party Committee (which is the state and party which passed the first Stand Your Ground Law). The NRA has made many $10,000 + donations to politicians such as the Governor of Indiana, the Governor of Georgia, and the Attorney General of Utah (all states mentioned here have stand your ground laws, according to the Center of Public Integrity). 

Although these laws are promoted to increase safety, the facts show that they are actually doing more harm than good. According to The Guardian, states that have Stand Your Ground Laws have an increased number of justifiable homicides among civilians. In fact, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, used Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law as his defense.

Now, seeing as many of us are about to venture off to the rest of the United States for college, I believe we should be educated on what states have these kinds of laws for our own safety. Below I will list all the American States that have Stand your Ground Laws according to Furthermore, if you want to feel safer going into the states that are listed below, come join Students Demand Action during C Day lunches so we can stand our ground against gun violence.