Saturday, January 7, 2017

Misleading Article About Stand Your Ground Law

The article in question is here.  In the article a study is described which blames Florida's stand your ground law with an increase in homicides.  I'll leave the validity of the study for other to comment about. I want to focus on this passage:

"Florida's Stand Your Ground law allows people to stand and fight, including fire a gun, if they feel threatened, without having to be attacked first."

This comment is incorrect and misleading.  To explain why, I must explain the five elements that must be present for one to legally claim self defense, weather deadly force is used or not.  These elements are:

1. Imminence. The threat must be immediate and proximate to your person.
2. Innocence. One must not have initiated the incident.
3. Proportionality. One must respond with similar levels of force with which one is confronted.
4. Reasonableness. One actions must be those that a reasonable person perform.
5. Avoidance. In some states, one must make an attempt to retreat or avoid the incident.

All stand your ground laws do is remove the requirement to retreat.  All four of the other elements must be present for a person to claim self defense in an incident.  It is not enough to "feel threatened" to justify using a firearm to defend oneself.  Doing so would likely land one in prison.

I hate the fact that so many journalists are so ignorant of the law.

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