Stand Your Ground Law 'Stand Your Ground' Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Stand Your Ground Law

'Stand your ground' laws

To inform

tand your ground' laws are extremely controversial pieces of legislation.

Attention-getter: 'A man's home is his castle.' How often have we heard this phrase? This concept is at the foundation of the right to defend yourself by using deadly force against an intruder who invades your home. However, recent laws have expanded the 'castle doctrine' and other, existing self-defense laws. Many of these new laws are called 'stand your ground' laws, the most liberal of which exists in Florida.

It is important to gain a historical perspective on 'stand your ground' laws to understand the controversy

tand your ground' laws are extremely polarizing pieces of legislation.

Credibility statement:

My interest in this topic arose during the George Zimmerman murder trial, in which Zimmerman (a member of a neighborhood watch) was accused of killing an unarmed teenager named Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman used Florida's 'stand your ground' law as his defense.

E. Preview of main points.

1. First, I will discuss the history of 'stand your ground' laws.

2. Second, I will address both sides of the controversy regarding such laws, with specific reference to the Zimmerman case.

3. Finally, I will discuss additional example cases in Florida and the application of 'stand your ground' in other states.

II. Body

A. History of 'stand your ground' laws

1. 'Stand your ground' laws climbed to the forefront of the nation's attention with the George Zimmerman trial.

a. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch member in Florida, used the state's 'stand your ground' laws as his defense for shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager.

b. According to NPR: "prior to the passage of the law, a citizen in Florida had the duty to retreat when confronted with lethal force or with deadly force or the perception of deadly force" (Block 2012).

c. "Self-defense laws in at least 22 states…provide civil immunity under certain self-defense circumstances" but Florida's are some of the most liberal in the nation (Self-defense and 'stand your ground,' 2013, NCSL)

d. "The common law principle of 'castle doctrine' says that individuals have the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home" which supporters of such laws use to defend the concept of 'stand your ground' elsewhere, outside the home (Self-defense and 'stand your ground,' 2013, NCSL).

2. Today, Florida's state law reads: "a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony" (Self-defense and 'stand your ground,' 2013, NCSL).

Transition: Now that you know what the specifics of the Florida law states that was used in the Zimmerman defense, let me address the controversy behind the law.

B. The controversy behind the law

1. Even before the Zimmerman trial, the 'stand your ground' doctrine was controversial

a. The Florida law was supported by NRA activists (Block 2012).

b. However, even many police officers as well as civil libertarians were concerned about the 'real world' effects: "the police and prosecutors think that it basically gives carte blanche to shoot first and ask questions later" (Block 2012).

2. The Zimmerman trial further inflamed the controversy.

a. On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was…

Sources Used in Document:


Block, M. (2012). A history of 'stand your ground' laws. NPR. Retrieved from:

Botelho, G. & Yan, H. (2013). George Zimmerman found not guilty of murder in Trayvon

Martin's death. CNN. Retrieved:

Cite This Essay:

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