The number of those who unequivocally support Florida's stand-your-ground law has increased since last year
Florida's stand-your-ground law was thrust into the spotlight last year after the killing of teenager of Trayvon Martin. While George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Martin, has, in fact, not sought to use the stand-your-ground law to gain immunity from prosecution, the topic is still at the matter of an intense debate. Stand your ground laws allow individuals to use deadly force if they are attacked even if you have the opportunity to escape or end the encounter without using deadly force.
New YouGov research reveals that support for stand-your-ground laws has increased since we last asked about it in March 2012. Now 45% of Americans unequivocally support Florida's stand-your-ground law, while 31% unequivocally supported it last year. Currently 14% of Americans do not support the law, while 28% support the idea of the law, but only if it applies to individuals attacked in their homes.
While the number who do not support the law has dropped slightly since last year, the larger change has come in those who only support the application of stand-your-grand laws only to cases in the home. This number has dropped from 37% last year to 28% this year.
Support for the law remains a partisan matter, with Republicans and Independents unequivocally supporting it and Democrats more likely to support its application only for those attacked in their homes or to oppose it outright. That said, the increase in support for a wide reach for the law has occured among every members of every political affiliation.
While George Zimmerman has not sought a stand-your-ground defense, his trial, which began last week, is strongly associated with the law. The trial remains an object of strong interest of Americans. 80% say that they are following it the case at least "a little", while 31% say they are following "somewhat closely" and 15% say they are following it "very closely".
Florida's stand-your-ground law was passed into law in 2005. In most states the use of deadly force is not permitted if the victim of the attack has the opportunity to escape or otherwise end it without using deadly force. Over 15 states have adopted stand-your-ground laws while others have effectively adopted it due to various court rulings. Although Zimmerman has waived his right to immunity established by the law, he may still refer to his rights under stand-your-ground law in his defense during the trial.
Complete results are available here.