Self-Defense Killings in US Nearly Doubled From 2000-2010, Statistics Show
At a time when the overall US homicide rate is declining, more civilians are killing each other and claiming self-defense — a trend that is most pronounced in states with new “stand your ground” laws.
These laws, which grant people more leeway to attack and even kill someone who is threatening them, are attracting scrutiny following February’s controversial killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida by a neighborhood watchman. Florida has one of the broadest self-defense laws of the 25 states with some version of a “stand your ground” principle.
So-called justifiable homicides nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010, the most recent data available, when 326 were reported, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of crime statistics from all 50 states.
Over that same 11-year period, total killings averaged roughly 16,000 a year, according to the state figures, which the Journal obtained from the FBI and from Florida.