Civil Rights Commission To Investigate ‘Stand Your Ground’ For Racial Bias

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced it will investigate whether or not “stand your ground” laws are racially biased.

Truthout reports that the Commission believes there are “some indicators of racial bias” in how the laws have been implemented. From the announcement.

While there are some indicators of racial bias in the triggers and operation of SYG laws, research is scant. Data compiled by the Wall Street Journal shows a near-doubling of justifiable homicides from 2005-2011 in states where SYG passed. Moreover, their data shows that while white killers of black victims comprises only 3.1% of all homicides, such cross-racial killings constitute 15.6% of justifiable homicides. Also, an advisory group to the National District Attorneys Association met in 2007 and issued a report that, in part, concluded that among the “negative consequences” of SYG-type legislation were “a misinterpretation of physical clues that results in the use of deadly force, exacerbating culture, class, and race differences,” and “a disproportionately negative effect on minorities, persons from lower socio-economic status, and young adults/juveniles.” There is also a general body of social science research that has examined the effects of race on the perception of threat and even split-second decisions on whether to fire a gun.4 However, the implications of this social science research for justifiable homicides subject to SYG laws have not been carefully studied. A fact-based, systematic review is needed of SYG laws and their implementation.

In the last 7 years over twenty states have adopted “stand your ground” laws as part of the agenda pushed by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, (ALEC) and funded by billionaire benefactors the Koch brothers. The tragic death of Trayvon Martin brought national attention to the laws which dramatically expand the justifications of the use of deadly force.

The committee plans to hold hearings and release the findings of their study within one year. Findings of racial bias in the bills would open the door to a host of possible civil claims and bolster repeal efforts. It’s an important, albeit slow, first step in returning some equality in the law.

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Photo from irrezolut via flickr.


Ira L.
Ellie L6 years ago

LaurieD: If it were your son or daughter who was shot, and the attacker claimed it was in self-defense and applied the "stand your ground" law, would you so cavalierly say, "DEAL WITH IT?" I hardly doubt it!

Ira L.
Ellie L6 years ago

LaurieD: If it were your son or daughter who was shot, and the attacker claimed it was in self-defense and applied the "stand your ground" law, would you so cavalierly say, "DEAL WITH IT?" I hardly doubt it!

Carolyn S.
Carolyn S6 years ago


Michelle Knight
Michelle Knight6 years ago

Can those who passed this law, PLEASE STOP being Stupid & pretending they are Blind to the facts that this law was made to protect some & make others Legal TARGETS!!!!!!!!!! As are MOST laws, particularly in the South!!!!!

Will H.
Will H6 years ago

Thomas C. is actually pretty much correct. The SYG laws as written, do not in any way give anyone the right to shoot in an unlawful manner. In my state, prior to SYG, a woman was prosecuted because she shot and wounded her abusive boyfriend....the charges were based on the fact that she supposedly did not "make every reasonable effort" to be gone/absent/or otherwise flee her own house in the face of his attack. A second high profile case occurred when a father shot a burglar/potential rapist...(the intruder was kicking down the door of the daughter's locked bathroom)....and subsequently charged and had to go to court based on a similar philosophy that the family should have "fled".
The issue (including the one in Florida) seems to be more related to how the police handle such cases, than with the individuals involved.

IngaInga S.
Inga S6 years ago

Stand Your Ground Laws are Excellent Laws.....
The problems come when the police try to not apply them equally or as they are written!

Elaine McAuliffe
Elaine McAuliffe6 years ago

They also need to be reviewed for gender bias. If a woman shoots a man who beat her for three days because she refused to get an abortion, she's told she should have run away; if a woman with a new born baby shoots at the ceiling to scare off her abusing husband, she "should have run". If a white man shoots a fleeing person in the back, he's allowed to claim self defense. Apparently the sight of a fleeing behind was terrifying. These laws were pushed by ALEC and the NRA, both of whom are anti-American and anti-Constitution organizations bent on protecting haters.

Ahren A.
Past Member 6 years ago

The white racists of this country have long been killing blacks without cause...though now with these stand your ground laws it is no longer a crime

Barbara DeFratis
Barbara DeFratis6 years ago

About time this law got reviewed!!! It is only X 1 why each and every Loyal American should NOT Vote Republican.

Troy G.
Troy Grant6 years ago

The only way to curb shootings in America is by open carry. Guns are here to stay. May as well see who carries a gun so we can avoid the person, or engage him or her in a civil manner.