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Debate on stand your ground laws

Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America

Castle Doctrine laws have been instrumental in protecting the rights of citizens to defend their homes and families -- especially in the face of many prosecutors who, in years past, felt that citizens should rely on 9-1-1 or flee their homes when attacked.

Now there is a study by Cheng Cheng and Mark Hoekstra which alleges that Castle Doctrine laws are escalating violence. But the fact is the Cheng-Hoekstra study actually shows a drop in burglary, robbery and aggravated assault -- although, because of their bias, the authors dismiss this as insignificant and only helpful to those who are “legally justified in protecting themselves in self-defense.” Of course, any deterrent effect at all is precisely what one would expect to happen from a state’s enacting Castle Doctrine laws.

The researchers, after conceding this, embarked upon a red herring analysis of the homicide rates. Even though homicide rates would NOT seem to be connected to the passage of Castle Doctrine laws in a state in any significant way, the biased researchers conclude that “castle doctrine increases homicide.” But how exactly does giving people greater legal protections in defending their homes result in more homicides? The authors offer speculations, but no hard evidence that homeowners are misapplying these laws and killing intruders outside the legal protections of Castle Doctrine law.

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