In 2005, Florida legislators passed the nation’s first “Stand Your Ground” law, expanding legal immunity for residents to use lethal force when they believe they’re being threatened. A decade later, a new study finds that Florida has experienced a significant increase in homicides, while states without such laws have not.
Addressing violence requires looking upstream at social determinants of health, including racism and economic inequality. It's the uncomfortable task we continue to avoid.
It seems we barely go a week now without news of another violent gun incident. Last week's shooting rampage in Santa Monica, Calif., has resulted in the deaths of five people. And since the Newtown school shooting last December — in the span of less than six months — thousands of Americans have been killed by guns.
Gun violence is uniquely an American problem compared to other industrialized countries. Firearm-related fatality rates in the U.S. are four times the rates in other industrially advanced countries. We continue to relegate this social ill it to our criminal justice system when it needs a public health solution.