The relationship between stand-your-ground laws and crime: A state-level analysis

Category: Crime, Firearm Policies, Homicide, Stand Your Ground & Castle Doctrine|Journal: The Social Science Journal|Author: M Gius|Posted On: January 01,2016

There have been numerous incidents over the past several years involving justifiable homicides and stand-your-ground (SYG) laws. Many of these incidents involved unarmed alleged criminals being shot by armed citizens who claimed a right of self-defense due to perceived threatening behaviors on the part of the alleged criminal. In order to better understand the role that self-defense laws, and in particular stand-your-ground laws, has on these types of shootings, the present study will attempt to determine the relationship between SYG laws and crime. A fixed effects model that controls for both state-level and year fixed effects and a two stage fixed effects model are estimated. Results of the present study indicate that the relationships between SYG laws and crime rates are mixed. For some crimes and for certain time periods, SYG laws are positively related to crime. For other crimes, there is no significant relationship between the two. It is important to note, however, that none of the results of the present study suggest that SYG laws reduce crime.