Safety, Self-Defense, and Stand Your Ground Laws

7 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2016

See all articles by Mary Anne Franks

Mary Anne Franks

University of Miami School of Law

Date Written: January 31, 2016


Supporters of Stand Your Ground laws claim that these laws are necessary to protect public safety, but all available credible evidence indicates that these laws seriously undermine public safety. As the brainchild of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Stand Your Ground laws serve to merge self-defense and gun use in the American public imagination. The lethality and volatility of firearms make them poor instruments of self-defense, particularly in the hands of untrained individuals. The effects of Stand Your Ground laws on public safety are grim: more gun use, more aggression, and more deaths, none of which has had the slightest deterrent effect on crime rates. The laws have moreover widened the gap between the powerful and the marginalized, endangering vulnerable communities while reinforcing the privileges of those least at risk. Stand Your Ground proponents have cynically exploited Americans’ irrational fear of crime, carefully avoiding any acknowledgment of the racism, sexism, and classism that structures criminal victimization and violence. Encouraging people to resolve conflicts with firearms has unequal effects on the populations most vulnerable to violence, in particular women and minorities.

Suggested Citation

Franks, Mary Anne, Safety, Self-Defense, and Stand Your Ground Laws (January 31, 2016). University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-35, Available at SSRN: or

Mary Anne Franks (Contact Author)

University of Miami School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States


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