Nichole Hamsher


Self-defense, while universally recognized as a natural human right, embodies a complex set of scenarios that hinges on the level, place, and imminence of a threat to life. The modern expansion of self-defense laws, namely Stand Your Ground, allows for a wholly subjective anticipation of a threat by removing the duty to retreat, and withdraws both criminal and civil accountability. Such expansion has not afforded increased protection to those who need to use force in self-defense, such as domestic abuse victims, nor has it lowered crime rates, but actually works against such victims and increased homicide rates while not deterring other violent crimes. Further, unconscious biases and brain chemistry, in conjunction with the permission granted by the law, allow overly aggressive responses to rule in situations where none is required. In situations where individual rights overlap, Stand Your Ground prioritizes and rewards aggressive behavior without allowing for any investigation into whether such actions were justified. Stand Your Ground’s expansion of self-defense is unnecessary and delivers none of the benefits promised by its proponents.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons