Examining the Impact of Stand Your Ground Self-Defense Laws on Injury and Public Safety


Dave Humphreys and Michelle Degli Esposti, international PISC Scholars, participated in a research forum on Stand Your Ground (SYG) Laws, led and funded by the Joyce Foundation. There are two things that SYG laws do, Humprehy’s noted, “expands the circumstances in which deadly force can be used; and 2) streamlines the process though which individuals can claim immunity from prosecution.” Humphreys went on further to discuss the” redistribution of balance” that self-defense laws have on “swinging the pendulum in encouragement of using force in everyday disputes.”


Overall, their research questions if SYG and similar laws are problematic, and offer a framework that aims to establish evidence for competing opinions for – or against – these laws. While much of their research is in progress, a few conclusions were drawn, including that there is little evidence that suggests that SYG has a protective effect on public safety; and that passing more permission self-defense laws appears to be associated with lethal and some non-lethal violence. Further, while less is known about how these laws impact specific subgroups by race and age, the literature does suggest that racial disparities exist; while these laws work to protect laws from prosecution, they don’t work equally by race. Stay tuned for more work coming from Drs. Humphreys and Esposti with support from Dr. Wiebe and the Penn Injury Science Center related to SYG laws. Be sure to check out their website that explores this issue and showcases their work: https://standyourgroundproject.com/.