Florida's so-called Stand Your Ground law is still in effect, even after the tragic death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012. Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, successfully used the law as a defense for pursuing and gunning down the youth, who was armed with nothing more than a bag of candy. In recent years, the Supreme Court of the United States has found that Stand Your Ground laws such as Florida's are constitutional.
Previously, American jurisprudence assumed a violence-minimizing posture by which individuals were generally obligated to do their best to avoid gun violence. Before Stand Your Ground or "Shoot First" laws, there was assumed to be an obligation to try to escape from armed assailants if at all possible. Now, to the contrary, 24 states have laws that make it perfectly fine to chase down and shoot someone you even think is armed and might shoot you.
Some gun-control advocates refer to Stand Your Ground Laws as "licenses to kill" because such laws, they argue, have the unintended consequence of emboldening people to shoot other people even when there's no real threat, just because someone upsets them or makes them uncomfortable.
Despite assurances that existing homicide laws prevent that from happening, the parents of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, another unarmed African-American Florida youth, who was shot and killed in 2012 by a man who said he felt threatened by loud hip-hop music playing inside the vehicle Davis occupied, believe Stand Your Ground effectively killed their son.
In fact, Davis's murderer, 47-year-old white software engineer Michael Dunn, is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, after the law he thought would immunize him from conviction failed to do so. The fact that Stand Your Ground didn't work as a defense for Dunn does nothing to bring back Jordan Davis. The victim's parents believe Florida's Stand Your Ground law will embolden others to murder until it is repealed.
An HBO film titled 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets explores how racial bias causes Stand Your Ground laws to disproportionately harm young men of color.