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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 28, 2019 12:47 PM
From: Senator Steven J. Santarsiero
To: All Senate members
Subject: Repealing Pennsylvania's "Stand Your Ground" Law
In 2011, over the objection of myself and many of our colleagues in the General Assembly, Pennsylvania passed its own “Stand Your Ground” law.

In 2018, the nonpartisan RAND Corporation released a comprehensive report that found, in part, that “Stand Your Ground” laws are linked to more violent crime, particularly homicides, and that they do not prevent violent crime.

In fact, a 2017 study showed that Florida experienced a 32% increase in firearm homicides following the enactment of that state’s “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005. In comparison, states without this law experienced an 8% increase in firearm homicides after 2005.

The RAND report also found evidence that gun violence prevention measures — particularly background checks and safe storage of firearms laws — reduce bad outcomes, including violent crime, suicides, and childhood injuries and deaths.

Under my legislation, Pennsylvania would re-establish its “Duty to Retreat” law, which states that a person facing a dangerous threat must retreat or try to resolve the situation by non-violent means if it’s safe to do so, with the use of force only legally available as a last resort.

It is time we take an evidence-based approach to our gun policy. “Stand Your Ground” laws encourage gun violence. As such, it is time that we repeal “Stand Your Ground” here in Pennsylvania.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to re-establish Pennsylvania’s “Duty to Retreat” law.

Introduced as SB1025