Attack vs Retreat: Self-defense laws controversy in Florida

A specific set of self-defense laws colloquially referred to as the “Stand Your Ground” laws have become increasingly popular across the United States as they allow people to determine for themselves how to respond to being put in a threatening situation by another person.
This differs from the past when the laws for self-defense would have been more likely to be nicknamed the “Keep to Yourself” laws. Historically, it has been generally understood that if an individual felt threatened in any place other than their own home, it was their duty to remove themselves from the situation and return to a place where they feel safe. This way of handling self-defense is no longer very popular; instead, it is generally accepted that if an individual feels their life or well-being is being seriously endangered by another person, the threatened individual has every right to ‘take matters into their own hands’ in order to ensure their own safety.

What many fear this has led to is a rise in homicide in the name of self-defense in the state of Florida. People find it particularly troublesome that much of this rise has taken place within the Florida police force. Those who oppose these new laws fear that matters will only get worse and that murder justifiable by self-defense will only further perpetuate the outdated notion of “shoot first, ask questions later.”

Whether or not this new way of understanding in self-defense legislation is in fact increasing murder rates in Florida remains to be seen because these laws are still relatively new and accounts of their implementation mostly undocumented. Additionally, there are other factors some think ought to be considered as possible influencers of the rise in homicide as of late. This issue is a hot topic and will only continue to be a focal point of legal discussion as trials being to go through the court system where murder suspects have claimed self-defense under the “Stand Your Ground” laws.