Details differ between the shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis and unarmed teen Trayvon Martin earlier this year. But in both cases, older armed men initiated arguments with black teenagers and fired deadly bullets when the situation became threatening.
Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union/AP
Florida’s landmark “stand your ground” self-defense law is again in the spotlight after the Nov. 23 shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Jordan Davis, by 40-something software developer and gun collector Michael Dunn after an argument about loud music outside a Jacksonville convenience store.
Jordan’s death is drawing comparisons to the shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in February by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, chiefly because both shooters are expected to claim immunity from prosecution under the state’s 2005 stand your ground law that ended any legal requirement for lawful citizens to back away from danger, even in public places.
Two weeks ago, a state task force deemed that the stand your ground law is, on the whole, sound and needs no major legislative reform. Florida has seen a growing number of “stand your ground” claims, even in prosecutions with minor injuries, says University of Florida law professor Bob Dekel. Stand your ground claims are successful about 70 percent of the time, according to a recent St. Petersburg Times analysis.