Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2114885
 
 

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Stand Your Ground Laws and Homicides


Chandler McCellan


Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Erdal Tekin


Georgia State University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)


IZA Discussion Paper No. 6705

Abstract:     
The controversies surrounding Stand Your Ground laws have recently captured the nation's attention. Since 2005, eighteen states have passed laws extending the right to self-defense with no duty to retreat to any place a person has a legal right to be, and several additional states are debating the adoption of similar legislation. Despite the implications that these laws may have for public safety, there has been little empirical investigation of their impact on crime and victimization. In this paper, we use monthly data from the U.S. Vital Statistics to examine how Stand Your Ground laws affect homicides. We identify the impact of these laws by exploiting variation in the implementation of these laws across states. Our results indicate that Stand Your Ground laws are associated with a significant increase in the number of homicides among whites, especially white males. According to our estimates, between 4.4 and 7.4 additional white males are killed each month as a result of these laws. We find no evidence to suggest that these laws increase homicides among blacks. Our results are robust to a number of specifications and unlikely to be driven entirely by the killings of assailants. Taken together, our findings raise serious doubts against the argument that Stand Your Ground laws make America safer.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: homicide, stand your ground, castle doctrine, guns, crime

JEL Classification: I1, K14, K42

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Date posted: July 21, 2012  

Suggested Citation

McCellan, Chandler and Tekin, Erdal, Stand Your Ground Laws and Homicides. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6705. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2114885

Contact Information

Chandler McClellan (Contact Author)
Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )
P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
Erdal Tekin
Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )
University Plaza
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States
404-651-3968 (Phone)
404-651-4985 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
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