The case against “Stand Your Ground” gun laws is ever more compelling. Applied in one form or another in some three dozen states, these provisions allow ordinary citizens to use deadly force in self-defense even when violence could have been avoided simply by retreating. In effect, they extend the “castle doctrine,” which permits deadly force against home invaders, to public spaces. That’s a bad idea in principle and a proven failure in practice.
If two recent cases are any guide, juries are starting to push back against audacious claims of self-defense. In Florida, a jury in August convicted Michael Drejka of manslaughter after he shot and killed an unarmed man in a parking lot; Drejka had claimed the shooting was justified by the state’s Stand Your Ground law. And in Texas, a jury last week found that police officer Amber Guyger, who’d claimed self-defense after mistakenly entering a neighbor’s apartment and shooting him dead, was guilty of murder.