The most compelling reason for Stand Your Ground laws

Those opposed to private ownership of firearms for self-defense (or for any other reason, it seems) are especially outraged over the number of states that have followed, or are in the process of following, Florida’s lead in adopting laws designed to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens who shoot in self-defense. “It’s bad enough that people have guns,” the anti-gun folks seem to be saying, “but it’s absolutely unconscionable that they are permitted to use them to defend themselves, without having the trauma of enduring such an incident compounded by criminal prosecution and/or civil litigation!”

The protection from litigation is, in my opinion, the most vital feature of these laws. It is probably true that most justifiable shootings don’t subject the shooter to jail time, even without the Stand Your Ground laws (although that’s certainly not universally true–the case of Harold Fish comes to mind). However, the justified shooter does very often face lawsuits, from either the wounded assailant (if he survives), or his family (if he does not). There are vast numbers of cases to choose from to demonstrate that point–I’ll include links to a couple of them, here, and here.

Even when the shooter (who, keep in mind, is the crime victim) wins the case, he or she can be ruined financially, because of the vast expense of legal representation (and, as the second case illustrates, insurance companies are not required to pay the attorneys’ fees). The monetary cost, as devastating as it can be, is dwarfed by the trauma of being dragged into the courtroom, facing the possibility of financial ruin much greater even than that caused by the legal fees.

Finally, how is justice served by providing a large monetary award to the criminal or his family?

Stand Your Ground laws serve to protect the rights of crime victims–not the perpetrators. To anyone who is not pro-criminal, this has to be seen as a good thing.


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