Release Date: January 5,2021

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan Issues Statement Against Ohio's Stand Your Ground Law

Akron, Ohio, January 5 , 2021 — Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has issued the following statement regarding the recent passing of SB 175, Ohio's “Stand Your Ground” law:

Statement of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan

 

I am deeply disappointed in Governor DeWine’s decision to sign Ohio SB 175, the “Stand Your Ground” legislation into law. This legislation will make Ohioans, including law enforcement officers, less safe by encouraging and justifying armed vigilantism in our communities. 

Stand Your Ground laws upend centuries of traditional self-defense doctrine and threaten public safety by encouraging armed vigilantism—allowing a person to kill another person in public even when they can clearly and safely walk away from the perceived danger.  This law can also justify killing an unarmed person who, in reality, poses no immediate threat. In 79% of Florida Stand Your Ground cases, the assailant could have retreated to avoid the confrontation, and in 68% of cases, the person killed was unarmed.

Stand Your Ground laws are associated with an increase in firearm homicides and injuries and do not deter crime. In Florida, the Stand Your Ground law was linked to a 32 percent increase in firearm homicides and increased both justifiable and unlawful homicide rates. Florida’s law had the largest negative impact on neighborhoods that initially had the lowest homicide rates—turning even the “safest” neighborhoods into scenes of unnecessary tragedy.

In June 2020, Akron declared racism as a public health crisis. The data is clear.   Stand Your Ground laws have a disproportionate effect on communities of color and are often used to justify the deadly shooting of Black and Brown Americans, many of whom are unarmed.  And these laws are not equitably applied in court— controlling for other factors (such as who initiated the confrontation and whether or not the victim was armed), Florida’s Stand Your Ground cases with minority victims are half as likely to lead to conviction, compared to cases where the victim is White.

Finally, Stand Your Ground laws have successfully been used to justify the shooting of police officers in the line of duty by armed citizens.  They make dangerous, complicated situations even more dangerous and complicated for law enforcement officers and citizens alike.

This is not what Akron needs to foster more stable neighborhoods.  As our community works toward greater equity and opportunity, this law sends a divisive message that welcomes violence and reduces consequences for deadly mistakes.  I wish our leaders in Columbus understood that and would advocate for policies that will actually make Akron and all of Ohio, safer.