Does your state have a Shoot First law?
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
"Shoot First" Laws
In 2005, Florida became one of the first states to pass a “Shoot First” law, which allows people to legally shoot to kill someone if they simply claim they felt threatened. The Florida statute greatly expanded centuries-old “castle doctrine” laws that permit the use of deadly force in self-defense inside the home.
Prior to “Shoot First,” people had a traditional duty to retreat from a situation outside their home when they could safely do so. Now, afforded immunity and a presumption of lawfulness by the law, armed individuals can seek out opportunities to use deadly force outside their homes. And the hands of law enforcement and prosecutors are tied.
Everyday conflicts can now escalate more easily into deadly shootouts, and the killers can rely on blanket immunity from prosecution or civil suits if they say they felt threatened. Ignoring these potential problems with Florida’s “Shoot First” law — and its potential death toll — the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) aggressively pushed this legislation in state houses across the country.
Now, 26 states have some variation of a Florida-style “Shoot First” law. And the consequences of this legislation are clear. Since passage in these states, we’ve witnessed a sharp increase in so-called “justified homicides” — which have increased by 200% in Florida alone.
Whatever the intentions of the law, it’s clear that this reckless measure comes at a tragic price for families and communities across the country. It’s time that we closed the gap between common sense and the free license that “Shoot First” gives anyone.
Join this nationwide effort to give elected officials a second chance to get this right and reform these laws immediately by adding your name to the petition on the right.