Impact of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

Appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (what this has to do with medicine is dubious, unless you subscribe to guns as a public health menace, which I don’t), a study looking at the effect of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law.” Given the AMA’s anti-gun position, it should not surprise you that they found it increases homicide. But the study does admit to a number of limitations, and makes some further admissions that tell me this was cooked up. Take this statement, for instance:


A potential limitation of interrupted time series designs is the possibility that other factors that occur simultaneously may distort estimates of intervention effects. Such factors might include national changes in social or economic variables (eg, a recession) or events that have a profound and lasting impact on society (eg, natural disasters). Additional design elements can be added to interrupted time series designs to assess whether such factors are influencing statistical estimates. We employed 2 such design features: analysis of homicide rates in 4 comparison states (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia), and analysis of control outcomes (suicide and suicide by firearm).

Why pick those states as controls? The demographics of Ohio and Virginia are nothing like Florida. Virginia and New York also follow the common law that when faced with someone committing a forcible felony, you may employ deadly force to stop the commission of said felony, and you have no duty to retreat. This covers the vast majority of circumstances a citizen is going to be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense. New York and Virginia are already, via common law, Stand Your Ground states, so they make a very poor comparison to Florida. Also, why study just Florida? Maybe this is why, as the study admits: “Evaluations of Arizona’s and Texas’ stand your ground laws found no statistically significant impact on homicide.”

So keep studying the issue until you get the result you’re looking for? Pick the control states poorly to drive your desired result? Looks like it to me. The studies themselves usually do admit to their limitations, but the media never covers that. Therefore, these studies help drive a certain narrative, which is why Bloomberg spends big money to get them.

2 Responses to “Impact of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law”

  1. Greg says:

    I spent twenty plus years fighting the gov. over whether it had the power to force motorcyclist to wear a helmet. The gov. used one ” factual study ” after another to prove that not having a law mandating helmets was costing society. ( forget the federal budget ) Despit a lack of funds motorcycling orgs debunked everyone of the studies, the most famous and still misused was out of Harbor View Med center in Seattle. Now harbor view is studying gun cost, so they have picked the new victim, gun ownership and will repeat the same tactics as before. Look to the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, the American Motorcycle Association and local state Abate groups for ways to defeat the med costs beat your rights BS.