MIAMI ( – As some state lawmakers are calling for a re-thinking of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to defend themselves from danger without the need to first try to get away, an analysis of state data shows deaths due to self defense are up over 200 percent since the law took effect.

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin by an armed, self-appointed Central Florida crime watch volunteer who claimed he shot in self defense has sparked a national debate about Florida’s law, technically known as the Castle doctrine.

Until 2005, it was generally considered self defense if someone tried to get into your home or invade your property, so long as you could show deadly force was the last resort. In 2005, the “Stand your Ground” law removed the need to retreat before using force, even in public.

That’s the justification George Zimmerman used when he shot and killed Miami Gardens teen Treyvon Martin, who was returning to his father’s fiance’s house from a convenience store visit when Zimmerman spotted him and deemed him suspicious. Before the police he called arrived, he claims Martin attacked him and he shot in fear for his life.

Police accepted his story, and let him go, sparking national outrage. Zimmerman remains free.

That kind of thing is happening a lot, according to FDLE statistics obtained by CBS4’s David Sutta.

According to state crime stats, Florida averaged 12 “justifiable homicide” deaths a year from 2000-2004. After “Stand your Ground” was passed in 2005, the number of “justifiable” deaths has almost tripled to an average of 35 a year, an increase of 283% from 2005-2010.

“The Legislature needs to take a look at Stand Your Ground,” Florida Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, “This is a perfect case of where it goes awry. This could only be the beginning of more problems down the road. It has unintended consequences.”

“When the Legislature passed this in 2005, I don’t think they planned for people who would go out and become vigilantes or be like some weird Batman who would go out and kill little kids like Trayvon.”

Gov. Rick Scott, speaking with reporters following a Cabinet meeting, agreed, though without committing to supporting any particular legislation. “When you see any violence it’s always positive to … go back and look at existing law and see the impact and the consequences of it,” Scott said.

“If there’s something that we need to adjust I’m hopeful that the Legislature would be interested in taking that up.”

Comments (49)
  1. Victor Barney says:

    And..? Only real justice should be a crime? Just saying…

  2. Daniel says:

    well most crimes down here are black guys wearing hoodies so i guess it might be better not to stereotype yourself. maybe wear a button down and a sweater?

    1. ron says:

      truth always hurts , dont it bunbun

    2. Bridget says:

      Shut up Daniel. You sound like an ass.

    3. Jose_X says:

      Daniel and ron:

      We can’t possibly ask a person with a fatal weapon and no clear id (as has a police officer) to back away from someone they think (or claim) is suspicious or at least to avoid using their weapon in public — no way — but now everyone who has green ears or purple freckles (aka, dark skin) and a hoodie has been told by society that it is OK for others to shoot at you in public first and ask questions later?

      Even police officers tend to back away and ask for reinforcements when they truly sense danger, and they have a lot more experience (although sometimes it doesn’t show).

      And if you don’t like the power law enforcement have, this law doesn’t help you because it doesn’t give you more rights against what you might think are threatening officers.

      If you live in states where it is cold, you develop certain accepted clothing styles.

      We have told people that it is OK to murder anyone they think looks scary. This makes walking in public safer?

  3. mike says:

    Nothing wrong with the law stand your ground…..i guess they are rethinking because they are not going to have to many long trials ….attorneys are concerned …
    If anyone breaks into anyone’s home and you have the opportunity to defend yourself, which include firing a weapon at anyone in the house. it must be done….if i was in that situation i would shot first, you don’t wait until the guy who brakes in makes a move, oulls a knife or gun…..

    1. Bridget says:

      Except Trayvon didn’t break into anyone’s house stupid. Since when is walking home in broad daylight grounds to lose your life?

    2. Jose_X says:

      The law allows you to shoot at someone in public if you are scared of them.

      Give it time and enough people will become scared of someone who looks like whatever you look like (or walks similarly or talks similarly, etc).

      Give it more time and you might happen upon one of these people scared of “you” who has a weapon and has been waiting for a “good” opportunity to use it on someone they fear.

      This makes innocent people safer?

  4. Tom Casey says:

    Stand Your Ground has nothing to do with the Zimmerman case. When you hunt down a target and kill them I believe the term is murder. We shall see what unravels as the investigation continues. If there has been a 235% increase in mortalities since the enactment of Stand Your Ground that only shows me that it must be working. How many victims have been spared an intrusion or possible death. My guess it must be somewhere around 235%.

    1. Jose_X says:

      You aren’t a good guesser.

      No need to “hunt” in order for the chances you are killed to have gone up.

      1: Many people who would have left a scene, resulting in no deaths, now are more likely to hang around, resulting in both death and more anger and fear by others towards people who look like the shooter.

      You are promoting people being afraid of each other in public, packing a gun, and then using it more quickly out of fear someone else will use a weapon on them first.

      2: If you are cautious and back away, you now have to worry about the other person tracking you and then shooting you and getting away with it. Isn’t it legal to follow someone suspicious as long as you stay in public? And if after following you, they claim they shot you because they were scared for their life because you made a sudden movement?

      Is it asking too much that people be expected first to try and avoid a violent encounter if they have a deadly weapon they are willing to use?

  5. Goober says:

    Maybe crooks will think twice now? Doubt it, if they were the thinking types they wouldn’t be doing it in the first place. I guess Darwin was right, natural selection at it’s finest.

  6. rosie says:

    Thank God for “The Stand your Ground ” law. Here in liberal NYC it the criminals that have all the rights. Can’t wait to move to Florida nad be able to defend myself.

  7. Goober says:

    Deaths Nearly Triple Since “Stand Your Ground” Enacted

    I don’t get it, what’s the problem?

    1. Slick says:

      famous movie line ” as long as the right people are getting killed”

  8. Andy says:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

  9. edd says:

    How can he claim stand your ground law, when he was the one chasing the guy? This is rediculous. as a police chief I would never accept that bs excuse and specially when the have they 911 tape as evidence.

    1. edd says:

      i meant ridiculous

    2. truth teller says:

      edd, looks like the tape was doctored, you should wait to comment before taken NBC or CBS word on the facts. As for being a police chief, if you were one you would have seen the tape before it was doctored.

  10. StatisticsGuy says:

    Since the enactment of the “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005, Florida has experienced it’s lowest violent crime rate of the last 40 years!

  11. w lallier says:

    Is the “stand your ground” the reason Florida legislators never travel alone?

  12. RuleofWolves says:

    The statistics you cite don’t mean that shootings are up, only that more shootings are being ruled justifiable. To say that the number of shootings has increased by 300% is incorrect and misleading.

  13. showrespeck says:

    I don’t think it’s the law . it the situation a person is put in now. How they handle it is where it’s at . If he would have stayed in the car in stead of following him, the outcome would have been different. He know he was wrong. YES MOTHERS i said MOTHERS. ( SHOUT LOUD ) for this mother. just think this could be your child’s CRY.

  14. psychohist says:

    This article says justifiable homicides tripled from 12 to 35 per year. However, it doesn’t mention that the murder rate has stayed around 1000 per year. Compared to the murders, the number of justifiable homicides are a drop in the bucket.

  15. Truth says:

    Zimmerman should be locked up for his actions and if it is proven that he didn’t have just cause the “stand you ground law” wouldn’t apply. It doesn’t give anyone the right to pursue. Whether you like the law or not just imagine your self in a real situation where you were attacked by armed assailants. Imagine all the things going through your head. “Are there more?” “Can I get away?” “Will they just take my stuff?” “Will they rape my wife?” “what about my son?” With all of that in your head do you really want to ask. “Did I retreat enough before I fight back?” “What were the rules again before I fight back?” “Will I get in trouble if I fight back?” “If i fight back it will be a long legal battle, and I have no money” “maybe I should just let them have their way and hope for the best..” Real honest law abiding people have gone through that exact situation and many have ended up dead. Unfortunately the media doesn’t hype up those cases as much. These cases are usually on page 5 or 6 of a newspaper or on the 12 noon news which nobody watches. Before you knock this law because of this unfortunate case think about all of those would be victims that have benefited by keep their lives.

    1. Tom Tom says:

      I wonder since this event occurred how many others have been hunted down and killed. Perhaps for a wallet, a watch or just being the wrong color in the wrong place at the wrong time.. You don’t have to be an African American to experience this behavior. It happens everyday in every corner of our nation. Just turn on the TV news or read your local paper. I ‘m appalled ……. for a minute or two.

  16. Winghunter says:

    When an average of 24 more bad guys are righteously killed a year, which obviously stops them from committing violent crimes thereafter, it’s time to celebrate the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and the defeat of elected official, judicial and activist traitors as well as parasitic racial extortionists.