Hundreds of Americans, a disproportionately high number of them Black people, are being shot and killed as a result of controversial “stand your ground” laws that have swept across the nation since the killing of Trayvon Martin, activists say.
A decade after the unarmed Black teenager, walking home from a store, was shot and killed by a neighbourhood watch coordinator who claimed he was acting in self-defence, in a moment that shook the nation, activists say an additional 150 people each month have been killed in gun homicides as a result of laws now in effect in 38 states.
Studies show that people of colour are disproportionately impacted as a result of these laws; in those states where stand your ground is operative either as a result of legislation or case law, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are ruled to be justifiable five times more frequently than when the circumstances are reversed.
“Nothing good has come from these laws,” says Allison Anderman, senior counsel for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a group established by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords who was attacked and grievously injured in a mass shooting in 2011.
“A number of studies have shown that they have meaningfully increased firearm homicide rates, and overall homicide rates, that they are racist and are applied in a racially discriminatory manner, most often to exonerate white people who shoot and kill Black people.”
She tells The Independent: “States…