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Efforts to Repeal Stand-Your-Ground Falter, Fail . . . Backfire?

Efforts to Repeal Stand-Your-Ground Falter, Fail . . . Backfire?

The much ballyhooed efforts to repeal the Stand Your Ground law in Florida have suffered an ignominious and well-deserved death.

An enormous and bi-partisan majority of Florida legislators —72%– this week overwhelmingly declined to hold a special session for the purpose of even debating the repeal of SYG.

In the aftermath of the Zimmerman acquittal (Zimmerman Verdict Reached: NOT GUILTY) there was an inevitable outcry from certain quarters for the repeal of Stand-Your-Ground laws, as well as threats to boycott Florida unless the state repeals SYG (ironically, and tellingly, such boycott threats often come from out-of-state politicians seemingly unaware that their own state is itself a SYG jurisdiction).

Such calls for repeal of SYG had the benefit of favorable amplification and endless repetition through the mainstream media, but even with that advantage only weeks later we can see that these calls amounted to little more than expedient political theater. This past week’s decision on the matter by the Florida legislature shows clearly how little appetite really exists to diminish the legal protections of law-abiding armed citizens in order to increase the safety for thugs launching felonious attacks against those citizens.

This past Tuesday the Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner informed Florida governor Rick Scott that there was utterly inadequate support for a special session that was to be devoted to repeal of the state’s SYG law. Such a special session required the support of 96 of Florida’s 159 legislators. It was instead supported by a mere 47, fewer than half the required number. Indeed, a large majority of legislators—108, including 7 Democrats, or 72% of the legislature—voted against the special session. SYG laws in other states enjoy similar levels of popular and legislative support.


Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner (right) and Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Indeed, the highlighting of SYG laws by those who wish to diminish the legal rights of law-abiding gun owners in deference to criminals may turn out to backfire on proponents of repeal. Prior to these initiatives few people were likely to know whether their state was one of minority of 17 that impose a generalized duty to retreat or among the large majority of 33 states that allow their innocent citizens to instead prioritize defending themselves and their families against a deadly attack.

The simple fact is that the clear majority of American voters support the SYG approach that is more favorable to the law-abiding citizen and less favorable to the criminal.

A Quinnipiac poll conducted earlier this month shows that supporters of SYG laws vastly outnumber opponents, 53% to 40% respectively, among American voters.  

It is notable that this polling result comes after more than a year of anti-SYG propaganda and disinformation being spewed by the mainstream media and as well as by particularly high-profile racial activists, in an environment in which the pro-SYG arguments are left all but silent. In an active legislative debate with both sides of the issue presented it is all but certain that support for SYG will only grow, as reflected in the outcome this week in the Florida legislature.

Of course, with opposition to SYG laws being favored by black voters 57% to 37%, the issue will remain fertile and profitable ground for racial politics.

Overall, however, to the extent that the issue of SYG is raised in the public consciousness it seems likely to strengthen support of the SYG protections favoring the law-abiding armed citizen against deadly force attacks. Indeed, several states that currently lack SYG are seeing SYG legislation introduced, including Maryland, Ohio.

Here’s hoping we can whittle down those 17 “duty to retreat” states to the low single-digits (there’s no sense hoping for 100% SYG states, some are simply beyond saving).

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer in his third decade of practice, an attorney member of the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network, and a Guest Instructor on the Law of Self Defense at the Sig Sauer Academy. He is the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition”.

Andrew conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country, and he has also launched a series of LOSD State-Specific Supplements that dive deep into every relevant statute, jury instruction, and court case that defines the law of self-defense in a particular state.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.


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My son pointed out a relevant question to me. He said, “Name the state that requires a police officer to retreat?” Obviously, the majority of police shootings occur when the officer feels threatened, and we don’t tell them they have to retreat and hide before returning fire. Why does a police officer have more rights than a citizen in such situations?

    because of the LOOK A SQUIRREL

    I agree with your son, but sometimes you have to look at things from the liberal statist point of view. If you do you’ll see that your son’s statements hold no water with them.

    Since they instinctively favor a powerful state where everyday people are protected by the state’s agents (police, soldiers, Barbara Boxer’s bodyguards), it makes no sense to them to compare themselves to the police. To them it’s solely the state’s job to police and protect the population. Not yours. Ever. They’ll just tell you that it’s the policeman’s job to stand his/her ground, it’s your job to retreat.

    Messed up, no?

      To them it’s solely the state’s job to police and protect the population. Not yours. Ever.

      Exactly! I just left a comment at the bottom of this page, expressing my dismay that a TV bimbo had described a self-defense incident we had down here over the weekend as the shooter “taking the law into his own hands” {gasp, horror}.

      This is truly the way some people think.

They’ve failed for now. They’ll be back. The Left never gives up. This is their signal to ramp up the indoctrination in the schools.

    Sure, evil never rests, it’s the nature of life in this world.

    Still, a win’s a win. I’ll take it. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      That’s all well and I agree. But here’s the thing. The Left is invigorated by its defeats. The Left learns, refines, evolves — and returns cannier and more determined about how to win. The Right, on the other, hand, breathes a sigh of relief that it dodged a bullet, totally forgets the battle it just went through (which it did not initiate, of course) and would like to believe the issue is now settled forever — which in fact is a form of denial that the battle ever took place or had to take place — and hopes that everybody can just finally get along.

      The Left LOVES the fight, and realizes that losses are all part of the long game. The Right doesn’t even want to admit it’s in a game, or rather a war.

      Angelo Codevilla concluded his excellent essay on the Ruling Class a few years ago by underscoring the need to demoralize the Left. Only this would prove decisive in the great war. We can’t just win individual battles here and there, we need to crush their spirits, make them understand that we’re MORE invested in the long game than they are.

      The fact is, this fight was picked by the Left. We played defense. We won, but they knew we would – this time. No surprises.

      They ALWAYS pick the fight, and we ALWAYS play defense.

      When do we start picking the fights?

        I would suggest that there are quite a number of us fighting against Progressive fascism who are fully aware of the long-game, and the indefatigable nature of the enemy.

        Sure, we’re a minority. We always are. *shrug*

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          I’m glad you think so. It seems to me as if the default nature of the Right is reactive not proactive. We perform admirably in rapid-response defense. But this is not the same as taking the fight to the Left. As Breitbart pointed out, the premise of Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio for years has been pointing out the depredations and biases of the Left. We do this all day long, which is great. But how many Breitbarts and James O’Keefes are there actually developing their own Narratives of attack, putting them on the defensive, rather than working overtime to contend — however ably — with their unending attacks.

          Just as an example: Gov. Scott of Florida (and many others) had an oppportunity after the Zimmerman trial to go on the offensive against the Left’s race-hustling machinery. It was a devastating loss for them, after all. We had them reeling. But he and others said nothing. The moment to form a new Narrative was lost. Instead of turning the Left’s defeat into more defeats, putting them on their back feet, many in positions of leadership held their breath as if almost afraid of the victory and its implications. As a result, the Left’s audacious post-Zimmerman propagandistic narrative campaign proved nearly culturally overwhelming.

          Again, I’m not talking about decisive and effective responses to the Left’s actions. We’re pretty good at that. I’m talking about advances into leftist beachheads, campaigns to confront and subvert them. With Breitbart’s death, we lost a champion in that respect.

          I am speaking broadly, not slighting you or your efforts. You do a splendid job as a writer and internet presence.

          No worries, Raven, I’m not taking anything you’re writing personally. I think the substance of what you’re writing is right on the mark.

          The issue, really, is whether the “right” will develop sufficient warriors to avoid destruction at the hands of the Progressives.

          I don’t know whether we will or not. I do know I consider myself one of those warriors. I hope to lead by example to others and I hope they choose to become warriors for freedom, as well.

          What I won’t do, however, is languish in DOOOOOM all day. There’s a war on, I get it, I’m in it, I’m doing my best to fight my part of it.

          I’m still going to enjoy life, as best I can.

          And I’ll fight happy. Indeed, I love the fight. If the Progressive fascists didn’t exist, I suppose I’d have to invent them. Thankfully, they were provided, saving me the guilt. 🙂

          Remember, the fascists first try to win the fight by breaking your will.

          Laugh at them.

          Be Brietbart. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Andrew: I agree completely. My frustration does not equate to defeatism. Happy warrioring is a must.

          I’m a filmmaker in Hollywood, and wrote and produced an independent feature drama concerning the radical Left during the Iraq War — our film, “THE DIVIDED”, was a selection of the 2009 GI Film Festival. I’m now working on a larger project (i.e., bigger canvas and higher budget), the story of the Left’s attack on the basic American character. I’m looking for investors now and also contemplating a crowd sourcing effort.

          I saw Andrew Breitbart in DC at that festival but didn’t meet him – to my great regret.

        rantbot in reply to raven. | August 26, 2013 at 8:04 am

        “When do we start picking the fights?”

        The Heller case? SYG and CC laws? Those would certainly qualify as attacks on leftoid complacency. Successful ones, too.

amatuerwrangler | August 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

You neglected to explain how Florida will survive without Stevie Wonder concerts. Will the need of his fans to travel elsewhere be a boon to the sale of bus tickets, gasoline and even motel rooms?

One thing that may have helped is that people who know the facts about the Zimmerman case have been active participants in online discussions that try to blame Trayvon Martin’s death on SYG laws. Legal Insurrection may take a bow for helping make those facts known.

    Right! Which is why I am going to be both repetitive, and off topic, on the Voter Suppression campaign the Democrats are waging. I got in a food fight on another website, and there was no place where I found the information I knew had to exist. For example, this argument that I made:

    People are giving North Carolina holy heck about cutting back some on early voting, and guess what I just found? A whole bunch of states which don’t even allow early voting. Like:

    New York,
    Rhode Island
    New Hampshire

    Sooo, if a Republican state cuts back on early voting by a few days, that makes them mean, old racist Jim Crow-y states, where if a Democratic state doesn’t even have early voting at all, then that is just AOK???

    Here’s the link. I’m assuming its correct:


    Also, I had to discover that Rhode Island had passed Photo ID law, based on Indiana’s.

    Hopefully, if people read this here, they will have an easier time debunking the race-baiting Democratic stuff, just like with SYG.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

I have a general question on the “duty to retreat”. How would that apply to the elderly, the crippled, or the injured? How would such people who are unable to run away “retreat”?

    crippled/injured is me and its something I have always wondered. I don;t have the stamina for a prolonged fight so I have to end it fast. I don’t carry anymore, with my issues it could be safety issue so I stopped….for now..
    so if attacked will have to incapacitate the person within moments.
    last guy had broken windpipe and elbow and torn acl.
    its a real bad situation, I hate being put in that situation so I try to avoid people.
    however some of the newer weapons may work safely for me so we are looking into it again.

    I loved my springfield 1911A1 overseas, fit my hand perfect aand I could qualify expert in my sleep.

    The duty to retreat only applies if it is possible to do so safely. If it is not possible to safely retreat, there is no duty to retreat, even in non-SYG states.

    Of course, whether the purported avenue of retreat was safe or not is subject to debate in court. Presumably the State prosecutors will argue that a safe avenue of retreat existed, and the defendant will argue that any avenue of retreat was not safe.

    If you are burdened with some physical condition that makes retreat exceptionally difficult it might be prudent to ensure that this condition is noted in you medical records, should you ever find yourself in need of pre-existing evidence of the condition. If the first time there’s any official record of this condition is shortly after you’ve failed to take advantage of an avenue of retreat that would have been safe for a healthy person, you might encounter considerable skepticism on the part of the prosecutor, judge, and jury.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      LOL tons of VA documentation and tons of worplace injury documentation.
      I could kill my attacker by throwing my paperwork at him LOL
      course lifting it is violating my weight restrictions 🙂

        Sorry for your injuries, but so long as you’re stuck with them I’m glad you have the documentation.

        In court, then, on the issue of retreat the legal question would whether there existed an avenue of retreat that would have been safe for a person of your specific physical capabilities.

        Sure, the hypothetical “reasonable and prudent person” of normal health and physical capabilities might have been able to make use of that avenue of retreat safely, but that doesn’t mean that an elderly person, or a small child (or someone tasked with the protection of that elderly person or small child) could have used that avenue of retreat with safety, much less someone with bad knees, a prosthetic leg, wheelchair bound, etc.

        Your documentation just helps prevent the State from arguing that your disability occurred after the fight in question or that it’s completely fabricated.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          that makes sense, thanks.
          I try to avoid situations but…crap happens sometimes.

          jayjerome66 in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm

          Medical records won’t help you if Angela Corey is the State Attorney. It won’t even help if you’re nearly blind, diabetic, have had multiple heart surgeries, and are 65 years old with 14 years of US Army service. You’ll still end up with a twenty year prison term just for standing your ground and firing two warning shots (nobody hit) to scare off some teenagers who were threatening another elderly person.

          He’s in jail now, thanks to Angela-the-Hun, but maybe in the light of recent higher court decisions he’ll be set free.

          Jay, three things about that case.
          (1) Don’t fire “warning shots”, at least not in Florida. Don’t fire a gun “just to scare” someone. I’ve always been of the understanding that a situation either justifies using lethal force, or it doesn’t. Mr. Branca can probably clarify that.
          (2) The “minimum mandatory sentencing” laws are a disaster, and they’re the real villain here — not just Angela Corey. There was a populist backlash against what people saw as too-lenient sentencing by judges, so legislators brought mandatory minimums in as a “tough on crime” move, but obviously now it’s swung too far in the other direction and we’re ending up with terrible injustices like this one.
          (3) That said, he didn’t HAVE to get sentenced under minimum mandatory sentencing – that only happened because he turned down a 3-year plea deal. I do not know why someone advised him to do that. With our mandatory minimums, he was taking a huge gamble going to court… and he lost.

          I don’t have much time for Corey either (who by the way is not “the” State Attorney for Florida but just “a” State Attorney for one district, that covering Jacksonville), but in cases where mandatory minimum sentencing kicks in, even her hands are pretty much tied.


          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Nice succinct clarification! Thank you 🙂

          The circumstances either warrant a deadly force response, or they don’t.

          If circumstances do warrant a deadly force response I recommend you do as LEOs are trained throughout the US and world, and go for center mass to stop the threat as effectively as possible.

          If circumstances DO NOT warrant a deadly force response, then DO NOT RESPOND WITH DEADLY FORCE. If you do so, you are violating the law.

          If you do use deadly force where deadly force is not warranted, you may get lucky, if you are in a very rural area of a rural state with a forgiving law enforcement arm and judiciary, and become a nice little mention in the NRA’s Armed Citizen column, and otherwise walk away scott-free.

          The trouble is you’ve put all the decision-making and control in OTHER PEOPLE’S hands.

          If it turns out that they are not forgiving of your error, you’ll find yourself charged with aggravated assault, a 10-15 year conviction pretty much everywhere, and in many states with additional firearms time added on.

          I think it was the Mexican character Tuco in the Clint Eastwood movie “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” in the scene where he’s confronted by an assassin while he is taking a bath, who says, “When it’s time to shoot, SHOOT! Don’t talk!” By the same token, when it’s NOT time to shoot, DO NOT shoot, even in mere warning.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Anchovy in reply to snopercod. | August 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I am getting to be an elderly-American and am no longer in any condition to roll around on the ground with a couple of 18 year old wannabe MMF types. However, I am good at math.

    68 + 9mm = 18.

      They do make good “equalizers”, especially for older less-fit people. In fact the fastest-growing cohort of new CCL holders in Florida is females age 65 and up. So look out, wannabe-thugs down here… “granny’s got a gun!” 🙂

Rick Scott FLEW into the governor’s mansion, in Florida, by spending at least $30-million of his own money, which he made in the “private sector.”

It’s still unknown if the publicity of the Zimmerman trial has hurt him, politically. Because he’s not running until next year.

What’s funny is that IF he wins re-election in 2014, he could force his way onto the republican ballot in 2016. (It’s a universe where “money talks.”)

You know, MItt didn’t carry Floriduh. And, you’ll never know what goes on between the elites that passes itself off as “one of our two parties.”

    How can someone who is so level-headed regarding Israel retreat to an alternate dimension everywhere else? Kind of like the Baltimore Sun in reverse.

    BTW, Florida went for Bush (in spite of the attempt by Al Gore to steal the election) because of Elian Gonzales, who was deported by Clinton as an illegal alien in violation of the Family Court recommendation. Just one more reason for Clinton to burn in Hell, as if the rape and molestations and destruction of the lives of various “little people” weren’t enough.

[…] Efforts to Repeal Stand-Your-Ground Falter, Fail . . . Backfire? The much ballyhooed efforts to repeal the Stand Your Ground law in Florida have suffered an ignominious and well-deserved death. […]

Why do the proggies hate minorities so much? Study after study shows that minorities benefit from SYG laws more than whitey does.

Sort of on topic, we just had another case of SYG in Brevard County, with a pizza delivery driver shooting dead a would-be robber who was armed with a knife.

According to deputies, Park was then approached by an armed man who attempted to rob him.

“The black male threatened him with the knife, asked him for his money and threatened to kill him,” Goodyear said.

But investigators said Park, who works for Domino’s, was armed with a gun in his vehicle.

“He pulled his firearm, shooting the robber one time,” Goodyear said.

The attempted robbery suspect, identified as 32-year-old Fredrick Kelly Jr., was pronounced deceased in the parking lot, according to officials.

Deputies said they are continuing their investigation, but the pizza delivery man is not facing any charges.

One, I truly hope the race-mongers or out-of-state gun-grabbers don’t try to make anything of this. To my mind, this is precisely how SYG was meant to work.

But two, and what really ticks me off, is that a friend texted me about this, reporting that their TV news talking head seemed aghast that the pizza delivery guy could just shoot someone like that, and the text overprint on the TV graphic was something like “PIZZA DELIVERY MAN IN FLORIDA TAKES LAW INTO HIS OWN HANDS”.

“Took the law into his own hands”!? It’s called defending yourself, which we have every right to do, which most sane people would see as a basic human right! Only a lefty could see that as a bad thing. Gosh I’m glad I don’t live in Liberal-ville where apparently the only acceptable reaction to being held up by a thug with a knife is to give him what he wants, beg him not to hurt you, wait for him to leave, then call the cops to come take a report. Gah.

I don’t know if Andrew Branca in his many informative posts has covered the issue of shooting to wound instead of shooting to kill.

Way back when, in a former life, I spent several years working as a Sheriff’s deputy. Police are trained that the only time you use deadly force is when you need to use deadly force. It is amazing how often you hear the uninformed ask why did some cop shoot and kill someone when they could have shot him in the arm or leg (or even shoot the weapon out of the bad guy’s hand).

When the newspapers report on officer involved shootings, it is inevitable that some of the comments on the story will always talk about shooting to wound or shooting a warning shot. I have yet to see a newspaper reporter include in the story any information about police use of force training that deals with deadly force.

    A good topic to bring up, Anchovy.

    Again, though, there’s deadly force, and there’s non-deadly force.

    There is NO “deadly force to cause non-deadly injury”, e.g., “shoot to wound”.

    Legally, the concept of “shoot to wound” simply doesn’t exist.

    (Louisiana is an odd case here, take a look at “Merritt Landry Case: Overview of Louisiana’s Self-Defense Statutes,”

    You’ll often read in the papers involving LEO shootings of bad guys that the bad guys were shot in the legs. Trust me, that’s just trigger-jerk. They certainly weren’t trained to do that, they just weren’t taught to shoot properly (a potentially costly proposition for any police department).

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


It play automatically every time I bring up your site, and I can’t stop it.

I am sick of listening to those smug. evil jerks.

Mr. Branca,

Have you read up on the exceptions in gun laws for nuclear power plant security guards? It’s a fascinating little rule – civilian guards, working for a private company, carrying SERIOUS firepower, as in actual assault rifles and sniper rifles. Just about any state with nuclear plants has the exception. The guys have probably trained more than the average SWAT team member, but they are not state agents any more that a military veteran is.

Armed security is the interesting exception to the state-only rule. In IL, at least, the training to be an armed guard is less than it takes to be a pharm tech or nurse’s aide.

    I’m not familiar with the “nuclear plant security” issue you mention, but then I don’t closely follow “gun law,” per se, (at least, not any more or less than any other typical gun owner). My claimed area of expertise is in self-defense law, which is not really the same thing.

    Thanks for the information, though, interesting stuff.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      gene_frenkle in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      This is a little off topic, but what are your thoughts about the Zimmerman case now that new evidence about the issues Zimmerman and his wife were having the night of the incident have come to light? We now know Zimmerman was probably in a generally upset and angry state of mind that night and he subsequently misled Sean Hannity in his interview,

      HANNITY: Let’s go back to the night of the shooting. Take us back to that night. You were going to the store.

      ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

      HANNITY: Let’s start at the beginning.

      ZIMMERMAN: I was going to Target to do my weekly grocery shopping. Sunday nights was the only nights — well, Sunday after we mentored the kids, we would always go grocery shopping and do our cooking for the week. So I wanted to go to Target and I headed out. And that’s the last time I’ve been home.

      Read more:

      Here is what his wife just stated,

      In the interview, she also revealed that she wasn’t at their home the night of the teen’s controversial shooting because she’d had a fight with her husband.

      “I was staying at my father’s house,” she said. “We had gotten into an argument the night before and I left.”

      Why is Zimmerman using the words “we” and “our” when his wife was not at home? Why does he appear to be speaking generally about the events before the incident? Did they “mentor” kids that day or is that just what they usually did?

      This appears to be evidence that would provide insight into Zimmerman’s state of mind on that night, i.e., he was very angry and looking for a fight because of the major fight with his wife. This is also motivation for him to mislead Hannity.

      I think this is evidence of why Zimmerman behaved in such a bizarre manner that night and made so many bad decisions that night.

        Your lengthy post is in support of your conclusion that “Zimmerman behaved in such a bizarre manner that night and made so many bad decisions that night.”

        Because the conclusion you wish to support is manifestly untrue–Zimmerman neither acted bizarrely that night nor did he make many bad decisions–your “evidence” in support of that untrue conclusion does warrant a substantive comment.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

If the law is repealed, the victims will be at a disadvantage. The criminal could claim that since the victim did not run away, he is at fault.