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Gun Homicide Rates Up 31 Percent Since Stand Your Ground

(file photo)

Florida’s gun deaths have gone up 31 percent since Stand Your Ground has been on the books. An international research team published the findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Governor Jeb Bush signed the first Stand Your Ground measure into law in 2005, ushering in a new era of self-defense. The law follows the "shoot first" philosophy, letting citizens use deadly force if they feel threatened, instead of retreating. Since lawmakers approved Stand Your Ground, gun homicides have jumped 31 percent, and homicides are up 24 percent. David Humphreys at the University of Oxford co-authored the paper.

“So this would suggest that, consistent with a lot of the concerns of public health advocates and various public safety groups, that the Stand Your Ground law in Florida has resulted in far more harm occurring than it was argued it would,” Humphreys said.

But Humphreys says it's not clear why the rates jumped so abruptly.

“From this analysis alone we can’t tell why that this. Whether or not specifically people decided to arm themselves more, whether they decided to react more violently to perceived threats in public…But it’s quite startling how the increase occurs at exactly the same time as the Stand Your Ground law,” Humphreys said.

The number of gun deaths in Florida is up across the board, but the increases are highest among whites aged 20 to 34.