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Stand Your Ground

Scholarship Highlight: A New Perspective on the Initial Aggressor Doctrine

Posted by on January 5, 2023

In a new article forthcoming in the North Carolina Law Review, Cynthia Lee surveys the current state of the “initial aggressor” doctrine–under which an individual who initiates a violent confrontation loses the right to claim that he or she acted in self defense–and proposes several changes to the doctrine to discourage gun violence and ensure that […]

A Florida Movie Theater and Lethal Self-Defense

Posted by on March 2, 2022

On February 25, 2022, a Florida jury acquitted the former police officer who shot and a killed the man he argued with in a movie theater in 2014. Curtis Reeves wasn’t just any retired police officer, but a former SWAT commander. His defense counsel even argued that his past informed his perceptions of the threat […]

The Dangerous Expansion of Stand-Your-Ground Laws and its Racial Implications

Posted by on January 18, 2022

I. Introduction Recently, there have been several high-profile trials that underscore the intersection of guns and race in America. In Georgia, Greg and Travis McMichael (father and son), and William “Roddie” Bryant, stood trial for fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man whose race seemed to be the only provocation the three white men needed […]

Essays on Race and Guns in America

Posted by on January 4, 2022

We are excited to begin rolling out the essays from the Center’s recent roundtable on Race and Guns in America. The essays are impressively rich and thoughtful, offering various descriptions and diagnoses (and some prescriptions) for the persistent problems that arise in a country flooded with guns and saturated with systemic racism. Starting tomorrow, we […]

Litigation Highlight: Guns & Speech

Posted by on May 7, 2021

Last week the Supreme Court held oral argument in a case concerning how the free speech rights of public school students interact with school officials’ authority. The Court’s ruling in that case could have implications for a lawsuit working its way through federal court in Wisconsin. On Monday, a district judge in the U.S. District […]

Scholarship Highlight – Recent Articles on Gun Rights and Regulation

Posted by on May 6, 2021

Today we’re highlighting several articles that were recently published or were recently uploaded to Westlaw. In keeping with past trends, there are both arguments that put forward an expanded notion of gun rights and those with a narrower view. Rene Perez, From Threat to Victim: Why Stand Your Ground Laws Are Inherently Prejudiced and Do […]

Cert Petition Highlight: The Fundamentality of a Self-Defense Exception

Posted by on March 24, 2021

In a really interesting cert petition filed last week, the petitioner challenges a state court’s refusal to give a jury instruction on self-defense as violating federal law. In Keahey v. Marquis, this question involves the interplay between the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which governs (among other things) arguments that a prisoner’s rights were […]

New Meta-Analysis of Studies About Stand-Your-Ground Laws

Posted by on March 17, 2021

A new article out last week analyzes 25 prior empirical studies that examine the effects of stand-your-ground laws on population health outcomes. In Effects of Laws Expanding Civilian Rights to Use Deadly Force in Self-Defense on Violence and Crime: A Systematic Review, Alexa Yakubovich and co-authors conclude that the evidence shows these laws have not […]

A Proposal to Radically Expand Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground Law

Posted by on November 20, 2020

Florida set off the modern wave of stand-your-ground laws in 2005. Its law not only provides that an individual need not retreat before resorting to deadly force in any place he has a right to be, but also grants civil immunity and immunity from arrest, prosecution, and charging to a person who kills in self-defense. […]

The Political Imperative to Self-Defend

Posted by on August 6, 2020

[Ed. note: This guest blog post is part of the Center’s Mini-Symposium on papers presented at the 2020 Firearms Law Works-in-Progress Workshop.] Does inter-personal self-defense necessarily implicate the political order under which it is exercised? Many moral philosophers, as well as many gun rights advocates, argue in the negative. The justification for a defensive act against […]

When Stand Your Ground Meets Blue Lives Matter

Posted by on May 22, 2020

What happens when the person you “stand your ground” against turns out to be a police officer trying to do his job? On August 20, 2015, John Derossett engaged in a forty-round gunfight with plainclothes deputies of the Brevard Sheriff’s Office.  They were attempting to arrest Derossett’s adult niece for prostitution following an undercover sting […]