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    Wyoming Joins the Large Majority of “Stand-Your-Ground” States

    Wyoming Joins the Large Majority of “Stand-Your-Ground” States

    As many as 36 states now qualify as SYG jurisdictions

    Just days ago, on Friday, March 16, Wyoming became the 36th state to join the large majority that qualify as “Stand-Your-Ground” jurisdictions, furthering a trend that has been moving in only a single direction for quite a few years.

    During the 2013 murder trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin—a trial that justly resulted in Zimmerman’s acquittal of all criminal charges—much was made by the media and activists (but I repeat myself) about the fact that Florida was a “Stand-Your-Ground” state. This furor was ignited and fueled relentlessly despite the fact that the legal doctrine of “Stand-Your-Ground” was, in fact entirely irrelevant to the case.

    Although at the time many seemed to suggest that “Stand-Your-Ground” was an aberrant public policy limited to a small number of states, or perhaps even limited solely to Florida, the truth was that even in 2013 the large majority of American states qualified as “Stand-Your-Ground” jurisdictions, meaning that they did not impose a legal duty to retreat before one could use deadly force in self-defense.

    There are, naturally, other conditions that needed to be met in these jurisdictions before deadly defensive force could be used, but a legal duty to retreat was not among them.

    Indeed, since Zimmerman’s acquittal on July 13, 2013, and the furor over “Stand-Your-Ground” as some kind of racist “license to kill,” an additional four states have joined the “Stand-Your-Ground” ranks.

    In addition to Wyoming making “Stand-Your-Ground” law on March 16, 2018 (although it doesn’t actually take effect until July 1), Iowa did so effective July 1, 2017, Missouri did so effective January 1, 2017, and Alaska did so September 19, 2013.

    During this period no state has abandoned “Stand-Your-Ground” and chosen to impose a legal duty to retreat before defensive force is legally justified.

    In the same legislation that Wyoming made law last week, the state also expanded it’s self-defense immunity provisions to allow for immunity against criminal prosecution (the state had already previously allowed for immunity against civil suit in self-defense cases). Further, the legislature defined the specific pre-trial legal procedure to be employed in determining whether immunity was warranted.


    Andrew F. Branca is an attorney whose practice Law of Self Defense LLC focuses on self-defense law. He is also the host of the weekly “Law of Self Defense LIVE Show.”


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    There has been a trend in the law, over the last 20 years, not to force law abiding citizens to rely upon the dubious mercy of criminals. This is an extremely logical concept and the State of Florida has been a front runner in this trend. It is good to see the State of Wyoming join other sane states.

      Gunstar1 in reply to Mac45. | March 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Georgia has been a Stand your Ground state since it was an English colony. It was common law. The only thing Florida law showed Georgia is that is should be written into the official code.

      A quote from Glover v State 1898:

      “So under section 71, one free from fault may, without retreating, take human life and be justifiable, if the circumstances are sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable man that a felonious assault is about to be made upon him, and the slayer, who is free from blame, acts under the influence of such fears, with the bona fide purpose of preventing the felony from being committed upon him. One who is himself to blame, however, has not the same right of standing his ground and of justification as one who is not at fault. “

        Mac45 in reply to Gunstar1. | March 20, 2018 at 8:32 pm

        Stand your ground was a principle of common law in virtually every state in the union, until some states, mostly Northeastern states, statutorily eliminated it. What Florida did was to statutorily ensconced the right to stand one’s ground in order to curtail the idea that retreat was necessary; a concept which was largely introduced into the jurisprudence of that state by refugees from the Northeast.

    Gremlin1974 | March 20, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Congratulations to the citizens of Wyoming.

    Also, Good to see you Andrew, I hope the reason you have been absent is that you are to busy to visit, lol.

    alaskabob | March 20, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I wonder for those jurisdictions that do not have SYG, maybe they should expand the need to retreat to the police. That worked well in Florida.

    Jimbino | March 21, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    STG defense is eminently applicable to abortion by a woman who is threatened by her fetus with death or serious bodily injury or even, probably, to unwelcome touching for 9 months.

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