Stand-your-ground law


Active Member
"Stand Your Ground" laws, sometimes called shoot-first laws by their critics, are statutes that allow the use of deadly force to defend against forcible unlawful entry or attack. These bills significantly expand the boundaries of legal self-defense by eliminating a person's duty to retreat from an invader or assailant in certain cases before resorting to the use of "defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another." [1]

The state of Florida in the United States became the first to enact such a law on October 1, 2005. The Florida statute allows the use of deadly force when a person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent the commission of a "forcible felony." Under the statute, forcible felonies include "treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual."[1]

The Florida law authorizes the use of defensive force by anyone "who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be." Furthermore, under the law, such a person "has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." The statute also grants civil and criminal immunity to anyone found to have had such a reasonable belief.[1]

Many supporters of the legislation, including the National Rifle Association, have dubbed the Florida statute a "Stand Your Ground" law, since it allows people to 'stand their ground' in defense of themselves and their property when attacked without fear of prosecution or civil lawsuits. Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA has said, "For someone attacked by criminals to be victimized a second time by a second-guessing legal system is wrong."[2]

Critics of the legistation, however, fear that laws like this will lead to a rise in gun-related deaths by encouraging vigilantism and pre-emptive shootings. Zach Ragbourn, a spokesperson for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has said that laws like Florida's "are more accurately called 'Shoot First' laws. They allow a person who just feels something bad is going to happen to open fire in public."[2]

Since the enactment of the Florida legislation, South Dakota, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Michigan, and Indiana have adopted similar statutes, and other states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wyoming) are currently considering "Stand Your Ground" laws of their own.[2]

Some of the states that have passed or are considering "stand your ground" legislation already are considered "stand your ground" in their case law. These states include: Washington State (per State v. Reynaldo Redmond), Indiana, and Georgia. Though stand your ground is already caselaw in these states, these states still passed "stand your ground" into statute due to possible concerns of the caselaw being replaced by "duty to retreat" by future court rulings. Also, these states did not have civil immunity for self defense in their previous self defense statutes.

*NY Times quote removed

Silver Arrow

Active Member
Hell of a post for discussion!

Having watched some of the Michael Moor films, particularly Shooting for Columbine, I can't believe these States are going down this route.#

Surely the correct path is to remove the reason for the crime in the first place.


Active Member
here is bit more from the NY times its a long articile so I have only posted part of it
15 States Expand Right to Shoot in Self-Defense

Published: August 7, 2006

In the last year, 15 states have enacted laws that expand the right of
self-defense, allowing crime victims to use deadly force in situations
that might formerly have subjected them to prosecution for murder.

Supporters call them ³stand your ground² laws. Opponents call them
³shoot first² laws.

Thanks to this sort of law, a prostitute in Port Richey, Fla., who
killed her 72-year-old client with his own gun rather than flee was not
charged last month. Similarly, the police in Clearwater, Fla., did not
arrest a man who shot a neighbor in early June after a shouting match
over putting out garbage, though the authorities say they are still
reviewing the evidence.

The first of the new laws took effect in Florida in October, and cases
under it are now reaching prosecutors and juries there. The other laws,
mostly in Southern and Midwestern states, were enacted this year,
according to the National Rifle Association, which has enthusiastically
promoted them.

Florida does not keep comprehensive records on the impact of its new
law, but prosecutors and defense lawyers there agree that fewer people
who claim self-defense are being charged or convicted.

The Florida law, which served as a model for the others, gives people
the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes.
They no longer need to prove that they feared for their safety, only
that the person they killed had intruded unlawfully and forcefully. The
law also extends this principle to vehicles.

In addition, the law does away with an earlier requirement that a person
attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. Now, that same
person, in the law¹s words, ³has no duty to retreat and has the right to
stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly
force.² The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the
people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.

The central innovation in the Florida law, said Anthony J. Sebok, a
professor at Brooklyn Law School, is not its elimination of the duty to
retreat, which has been eroding nationally through judicial decisions,
but in expanding the right to shoot intruders who pose no threat to the
occupant¹s safety.

³In effect,² Professor Sebok said, ³the law allows citizens to kill
other citizens in defense of property.²

This month, a jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., will hear the retrial of a
murder case that illustrates the dividing line between the old law and
the new one. In November 2004, before the new law was enacted, a
cabdriver in West Palm Beach killed a drunken passenger in an
altercation after dropping him off.

The first jury deadlocked 9-to-3 in favor of convicting the driver,
Robert Lee Smiley Jr., said Henry Munnilal, the jury foreman.

³Mr. Smiley had a lot of chances to retreat and to avoid an escalation,²
said Mr. Munnilal, a 62-year-old accountant. ³He could have just gotten
in his cab and left. The thing could have been avoided, and a man¹s life
would have been saved.²

Mr. Smiley tried to invoke the new law, which does away with the duty to
retreat and would almost certainly have meant his acquittal, but an
appeals court refused to apply it retroactively. He has appealed that
issue to the Florida Supreme Court.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the N.R.A., said the Florida
law had sent a needed message to law-abiding citizens.

³If they make a decision to save their lives in the split second they
are being attacked, the law is on their side,² Mr. LaPierre said. ³Good
people make good decisions. That¹s why they¹re good people. If you¹re
going to empower someone, empower the crime victim.²

The N.R.A. said it would lobby for versions of the law in eight more
states in 2007.

Sarah Brady, chairwoman of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,
said her group would fight those efforts. ³In a way,² Ms. Brady said of
the new laws, ³it¹s a license to kill.²

Many prosecutors oppose the laws, saying they are unnecessary at best
and pernicious at worst. ³They¹re basically giving citizens more rights
to use deadly force than we give police officers, and with less review,²
said Paul A. Logli, president of the National District Attorneys

But some legal experts doubt the laws will make a practical difference.
³It¹s inconceivable to me that one in a hundred Floridians could tell
you how the law has changed,² said Gary Kleck, who teaches criminology
at Florida State University.

Even before the new laws, Professor Kleck added, claims of self-defense
were often accepted. ³In the South,² he said, ³they more or less give
the benefit of the doubt to the alleged victim¹s account.²

The case involving the Port Richey prostitute, Jacqueline Galas, turned
on the new law, said Michael Halkitis, division director of the state
attorney¹s office in nearby New Port Richey. Ms. Galas, 23, said that a
longtime client, Frank Labiento, 72, threatened to kill her and then
kill himself last month. A suicide note he had left and other evidence
supported her contention.

Read The Rest


Novice Member
I'm no fan of American gun laws and I'm glad we dont allow most people here to own guns, but theres something that makes my blood boil about someone invading your property with the intent of harm. i'm not sure what i'd do if an intruder threatened me or my family but if i had a weapon i'd probably use it. However logic dictates that if you have a weapon so will your assaillant, and he'll not hesitate to use it to protect himself. As most ordinary people in this country dont have guns neither do petty criminals. Even if the criminals do have guns they'll be less likely to use it as they wont be in fear of their life.

So allowing these kind of laws will increase the number of deaths both of innocent and guilty.


Distinguished Member
Not sure what the point of this thread is. In the UK you are allowed to use reasonable force against anyone you genuinely percieve as being a threat to you . Reasonable force means doing the minimum amount necessary to prevent injury to yourself or others , this could range from pushing someone up to sticking an axe in their head depending on circumstance.

One thing is for sure a member of the public finding themselves in said situation is highly likley to find themselves the subject of a major investigation or court case regardless of the suitability of their actions.

Happened to me , although the eventual outcome was that the wounded party injured themselves through reckless endangerment whilst in the process of attacking me rather than any intentful act of self defence on my part , even had to change my plea from one of self defence to not guilty at the behest of the judge.

Huge waste of time and money ,huge amount of additional stress for me , felt like I had been attacked once and then the judicial sytem had given the bloke another free go.

As for the no expectation for retreat , in this country if you don't retreat when there was no reasonable prevention to do so "reasonable force" itself is regarded as being difficult to prove. You are expected to retreat rather than resort to force if possible in all circumstances. Although you are allowed to instigate a forceful reaction if you feel the threat is sufficient from the other party even though they themselves have not yet used force ( think this is called the "guardsman's perogative") .


Active Member
I dunno what else it takes for Americans to realize their relaxed gun laws and easy access to guns is a big part of the problem (shooting people that is) - but then again I don't really care as long as I don't have to live there.
But hey, the argument that they need weapons, lot's of them and automatic ones of course, for self-defense is hard to beat. :rolleyes:


Senior Moderator
So all that has merely happended is a re-confirmation to Americans that they can resolve every argument with a gun?


Active Member
And in contrast to that...
Dallas seeks restrictions on toy guns

DALLAS — Toy guns here might soon be taken much more seriously.

City leaders have taken another step toward enacting strict regulations on toy guns in Dallas, drafting a proposal that would make it illegal to own real-looking toy firearms that are not brightly painted or transparent.

The proposal, which also mandates that toy guns must reflect light, passed in the city council's public safety committee by a 7-1 vote on Monday. An ordinance must now be drafted by City Attorney Tom Perkins, who said it would likely be a few weeks before the council gets the proposal back for a possible vote.

"I would have liked to see the city absolutely allow toy look-alike replica guns, but to get anything progressive done in this part of the country is significant," said the Rev. Peter Johnson, who has advocated a toy gun ban in Dallas through the community activist organization Weed & Seed.

If ultimately approved, the ordinance would likely be one of the strictest in the country. In New York City, only the sale of brightly colored toy guns constructed of transparent material are allowed.

The shooting of children by police and private citizens after brandishing toy guns has spurred cities to regulate the sale and possession of replicas. A federal provision already requires gun makers to place an orange cap over the barrel.

The Dallas proposal drafted by the public safety committee does not include specific punishments for violating the ordinance.

The one council member who voted against the motion, Mitchell Rasansky, said he did so only because he thinks the proposed ordinance isn't tough enough.

"I want a total ban on these, period, etched in stone," he said.

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