If you ever dreamed of living in the old west with its paucity of rules on when and where you could draw your gun, it looks like you may get your wish soon in Iowa.
Iowa’s legislature overwhelmingly passed the cancer that has spread across the country known as “Stand Your Ground” laws. The main reason for these laws appears to be to kowtow to the gun industry and sell more and more guns in a society already awash in guns.
We only need to look at what has happened in Florida since they passed the grandfather of all stand your ground bills to see what will happen here. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association released in late 2016, covering 1999 to 2014 showed that firearm related homicides showed a significant increase following the enactment of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law.”
Main Outcomes and Measures Monthly rates of homicide, firearm-related homicide, suicide, and suicide by firearm in Florida and the 4 comparison states.
Results: Prior to the stand your ground law, the mean monthly homicide rate in Florida was 0.49 deaths per 100 000 (mean monthly count, 81.93), and the rate of homicide by firearm was 0.29 deaths per 100 000 (mean monthly count, 49.06). Both rates had an underlying trend of 0.1% decrease per month. After accounting for underlying trends, these results estimate that after the law took effect there was an abrupt and sustained increase in the monthly homicide rate of 24.4% (relative risk [RR], 1.24; 95%CI, 1.16-1.33) and in the rate of homicide by firearm of 31.6% (RR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.21-1.44). No evidence of change was found in the analyses of comparison states for either homicide (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.98-1.13) or homicide by firearm (RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.99-1.17). Furthermore, no changes were observed in control outcomes such as suicide (RR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.94-1.05) and suicide by firearm (RR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.91-1.06) in Florida between 2005 and 2014.
Conclusions and Relevance: The implementation of Florida’s stand your ground self-defense law was associated with a significant increase in homicides and homicides by firearm but no change in rates of suicide or suicide by firearm.”
Can we expect a similar increase or possibly even more in Iowa? The Iowa legislature, mostly Republicans voting for the bill, is willing to bet YOUR life on it.
Just to add another wrinkle to the mix Florida is updating their law to put the burden of proof that a murder occurred rather than a “Stand Your Ground” incident will now be on the state to prove. That is when a death by firearms occurs, the perpetrator will be assumed innocent rather than guilty. Thus the state must prove that the death was not an instance of someone shooting first and asking questions later. Seems backward to me.
“Florida’s law did not specify the process for applying “stand your ground” immunity. State courts established the current protocol, which calls for a pre-trial hearing before a judge and puts the burden of proof on the defendant.
Most of those speaking in the House debate were Democrats who said the bill would lead to more violence.
“Who will speak for the voiceless victims, silenced by an aggressor who claims he wasn’t an aggressor but is protected by a flawed law?” said Democrat Representative Bobby Dubose.
While public defenders support the changes to the law, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association and gun control advocates oppose them.”
No doubt Iowa will do its best to catch up on the ability for citizens to kill each other in the near future. They will bet YOUR life on it.
As someone who lived in a threatening situation for a period of time, providing a person with a built in excuse for killing another seems like a major step backward for society.