In recent news, the controversial question of using hand guns as a form of protection for private citizens came to the forefront of Florida media with the controversial shooting of Trayvon Martin in the summer of 2012. Florida has had a "Stand your Ground" law on the books since 2005 as a means of protection for your family and home in the midst of being physically threatened by another person.
The general public across the country is now more insecure than ever because of recent incidents, including the George Zimmerman/ Trayvon Martin case and the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. More than one million new gun permits have been issued to Florida residents alone in the past few months.
Twenty-four states have already passed legislation on "Standing your Ground", but with a significant change from the original law in Florida. The law was originally passed for private citizens to protect themselves within their homes. The new laws passed allow gun owners to fire a gun in parks and on public streets, if they feel threatened.
NPR reports that researchers have examined national crime statistics and found there are detrimental effects on a state that has a "Stand your Ground" law. The statistics disclose that homicides rose seven to nine percent in those states that already have the law.
The National Rifle Association says that "Stand Your Ground" laws are passed for the reduction of crime. The same research revealed that there was no evidence of deterrence during that same time period, in the same states. Researchers report that the increase in shooting deaths could be because of the "Stand your Ground" laws and availability of hand guns. They speculate that if those involved had not had weapons, they might have used their fists, and the disagreement wouldn't have ended in death.
George Zimmerman has not gone to trial as of the beginning of 2013, but his legal team is positively supporting the "Stand your Ground" defense. In Florida, the "Stand your Ground" was heavily favored because of strong supporter influence of organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Rifle Association.