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Research Letter
Firearm Violence
October 2017

Association Between Enactment of a “Stand Your Ground” Self-defense Law and Unlawful Homicides in Florida

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, Oxford, England
  • 2Department of Social & Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, England
  • 3Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(10):1523-1524. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.3433

Results from our study of the influence of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law on homicide and suicide by firearm1 have been questioned for not distinguishing between “unlawful” homicide (ie, murder) and “justifiable” homicide (ie, lawful use of lethal force).2,3 Using an interrupted time series design, we found “an abrupt and sustained increase in the monthly homicide rate of 24.4%” (31.6% for homicide by firearm) following the effective date of the law.1 Readers have suggested that if the increase in homicide rates resulted from an increase in homicides that were justifiable, the law may be working as intended. We investigated this possibility by acquiring additional data and conducting new analyses.