About a dozen U.S. states have passed laws that allow their citizens to use lethal defensive force in their homes and vehicles (in the Florida version, this applies even to public areas) if they are fearing for their lives. Previously, the standard had been that they had a duty to retreat before resorting to defensive violence.
These “stand your ground” laws (called “shoot first laws” by their critics) gives people the (legal) right to use deadly force against intruders. Presumably (I have not looked at the details of the laws nor examined some of the cases) it no longer matters if the intruder was drunk or confused. You are free to use maximum force for any uninvited border crossing.Now, without a doubt that there is no (or should not be a) duty to retreat at all. In that regard, “stand your ground” may enhance property rights and the ability to defend them.
But what if my neighbor is drunk, thinks he’s locked out of his house, and breaks a window. I shoot him and he is seriously hurt or killed. It seems that these stand your ground laws make it much more difficult for the intruder to win the case. Indeed, these laws forbid the arrest, detention or prosecution of people covered by that law and it prohibits civil suits against them.
This means that errors in judgement, confusion and mistakes are no longer subject to judicial leeway or can be presented for a jury to examine. Should people no longer have the ability to question the actions of someone who claimed self-defense?
Perhaps a more libertarian version of this law would do away with the duty to retreat, but still keep the possibility open for suits. Granted, I do not trust the State to ever do anything efficiently, nor that its “justice” is just at all, but if I’m a victim, that’s all I have for now.