Standing Up to ‘Stand Your Ground’

As organizers prep for Saturday's vigils calling for a repeal, here are the states that observe the law.

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Trayvon Martin supporters at a march in Sanford, Fla., last year (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

With more then 30 states observing “Stand your ground” laws, repeals won’t come fast or easy. The law is often personalized in each state and draws on the “castle doctrine” (pdf), based on British common law. This law states that all persons have the right to defend themselves in their own homes. Sometimes its coverage extends to a person who perceives an unlawful threat outside the home, meaning that he or she does not have a duty to retreat.

Florida was the first state to adopt a “Stand your ground” law in 2005, thanks to the lobbying of the National Rifle Association, and the legislation has continued to spread.

So which states have “Stand your ground”? The following list of states includes links to more information about each state’s law. Keep in mind that some states have specific jury instructions indicating that in cases of self-defense, a person does not have a duty to retreat.

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
California

Florida
Georgia

Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Massachusetts (pdf)
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
New Hampshire
North Carolina
North Dakota (pdf)
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Hillary Crosley is the New York bureau chief at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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