Study Finds, Florida Killings Increase After ‘Stand Your Ground’ Gun Law Passage

George Zimmerman (R), the acquitted shooter in the death of Trayvon Martin, listens to defense counsel Daniel Megaro during his first-appearance hearing in Sanford, Florida November 19,  2013. A central Florida judge freed Zimmerman on $9,000 bond on Tuesday and forbade him from possessing weapons or ammunition on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence during a dispute with his girlfriend.  REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Pool   (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW)
George Zimmerman (R), the acquitted shooter in the death of Trayvon Martin, listens to defense counsel Daniel Megaro during his first-appearance hearing in Sanford, Florida November 19, 2013. A central Florida judge freed Zimmerman on $9,000 bond on Tuesday and forbade him from possessing weapons or ammunition on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence during a dispute with his girlfriend. REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Pool (UNITED STATES – Tags: CRIME LAW)

Gun deaths have risen sharply since the passage of Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” gun law, a new study found.

The report, published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed data from 1999 to 2014 and discovered that homicides in Florida have increased 24.4 percent, while gun-related homicides are up 31.6 percent since the law was enacted in 2005 under then-Gov. Jeb Bush.

Florida’s “stand your ground” law protects people who use deadly force when citing self-defense ― even if escape is an option. The law received increased scrutiny in the wake of George Zimmerman’s fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager. Although Zimmerman’s lawyers did not invoke the law during his defense, a juror told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that it affected the jury’s “not guilty” verdict.

The National Rifle Association pushed for and helped draft the legislation. Following its passage, then-Miami Police Chief John Timoney called the law a “license to murder” and warned it could drive an increase of lethal force “where it shouldn’t be used.”

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Source: Black Voices | Hayley Miller