Stand and shoot (if you are white)
June 28, 2012 Leave a comment
A little research on the impact of “Stand Your Ground” laws courtesy of Ryan Avent’s Twitter feed:
The controversies surrounding Stand Your Ground laws have recently captured the nation’s attention. Since 2005, eighteen states have passed laws extending the right to self-defense with no duty to retreat to any place a person has a legal right to be, and several additional states are debating the adoption of similar legislation. Despite the implications that these laws may have for public safety, there has been little empirical investigation of their impact on crime and victimization. In this paper, we use monthly data from the U.S. Vital Statistics to examine how Stand Your Ground laws affect homicides. We identify the impact of these laws by exploiting variation in the effective date of these laws across states. Our results indicate that Stand Your Ground laws are associated with a significant increase in the number of homicides among whites, especially white males. According to our estimates, between 4.4 and 7.4 additional white males are killed each month as a result of these laws. We find no evidence to suggest that these laws increase homicides among blacks. Our results are robust to a number of specifications and unlikely to be driven entirely by the killings of assailants. Taken together, our findings raise serious doubts against the argument that Stand Your Ground laws make America safer. [emphases mine-SG]
It’s difficult to make really persuasive cuasal inferences based on this kind of data, but at a minimum this makes it difficult to believe that Stand Your Ground laws are reducing the risks of violence.
I gotta say, that “especially among whites” bit is quite interesting. Presumably if I took the time to go to the source, there’d at least be some speculation. Well, actually, really quick look and it seems that they offer not speculation on this at all. Should I? How’s this: maybe Black people know that they shoot somebody they are going to get charged with it no matter what, but white men increasingly think, “hey, I’m standing my ground.” Anyway, would be interesting to see something delving into this interesting difference.