Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: The History of Florida's Stand Your Ground Law

Posted by Tim Fernholz and Dylan C. Lathrop

infographic, stand your ground, florida, tayvon martin
When George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February, local authorities didn’t charge him with a crime due to a controversial Florida law, known as Stand Your Ground, that dramatically relaxed the state’s standard for what constitutes self-defense. Martin’s case has attracted national attention because accounts of the incident by the police and Zimmerman are incomplete and difficult to believe on their face, and because of a history of slow local law enforcement action on behalf of black victims. The troubling specifics of Zimmerman's case prompted an unprecedented outcry against the law, but it's drawn questions since it was enacted.