STAND YOUR GROUND laws are dangerous and expanding into more states. States that have SYG laws have an increase in homicide ranging from 8% to over 40%. SYG laws put citizens in the same league as police. As police have the right to shoot if they feel threatened, a citizen armed with a weapon and SYG as their justification can shoot if they feel threatened.

Presently in Minnesota, one of the states without a SYG law, a person has the duty to RETREAT from a threat, walk across the street, enter a building or the like to de-escalate a threat. This saves lives. Conversely, with a SYG law as well as a gun in your pocket, and you feel threatened by another person whether they have a gun or not, you can shoot them. You become police, judge and jury. To quote Dr. Caroline Light of Harvard University, “SYG says we should all be our own police.”

Dr. Light says SYG expands terms of lethal self defense. If a person “reasonably believes” they are being threatened, they have the right to shoot and kill. The problem is that “reasonable belief” is in the eye of the beholder.

Similarly, Dr. Light says SYG has a racial and sexist component. SYG has and is used to control the Black population and women, making it easier for Whites and male husbands and partners to dominate. SYG has roots in White supremacy and male supremacy.

In America, “Armed citizenship is revered, [creating] a culture based upon fear” says Dr. Light. Even though the United States has only 5% of the world’s population, we have 40-50% of the worlds guns. The USA has the highest gun homicide rate and the highest number of guns per capita among all Western Developed Nations. About 1/3 of our population have guns, with many having “super ownership” of 10 or more guns. SYG laws only exacerbate the level of violence in our nation.

The gun lobby will be back in force to try a get our state to endorse SYG as a law. Let’s keep our state safer. STOP SYG!

Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes