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Hawaii Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond as Lawmakers Reject Dangerous, Racist So-Called “Stand Your Ground” Legislation

February 24, 2021

The Hawaii chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after the Hawaii House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs rejected HB 534, a so-called “Stand Your Ground” bill which would have emboldened vigilantes and extremists to shoot first and ask questions later, weaken gun laws, and make the people of Hawaii less safe, particularly for people of color. 

“We’re glad our lawmakers rejected this deadly legislation last night,” said Carolyn Pearl, a volunteer with the Hawaii chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s hard to imagine why anyone could have seen this bill as anything other than a license to kill. Hawaii has some of the strongest gun safety laws in the country, and voting this bill down helps keep it that way.”

“The research is clear on what happens when states pass ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws – increases in gun deaths, injuries, and hospitalizations,” said Leah Delos Santos, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in Hawaii. “This bill shouldn’t have even been considered, let alone required a vote, but we’re glad our lawmakers voted to reject it.”

More information about so called “Stand Your Ground” laws: 

  • In 2020, the RAND Corporation released a research review of the impact of various gun-related state policies and found that strong evidence linked Stand Your Ground laws with an increase in firearm homicide rates. None of the research found that Stand Your Ground laws prevent violent crime.
  • “Stand Your Ground” laws are associated with increases in homicide rates translating to more than 150 additional gun deaths each month nationwide. “Stand Your Ground” laws are also associated with an increase in firearm injuries, resulting in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. 
  • A recent study comparing the five years before states began enacting these laws (2000–2004) to the 13-year period following their enactment (2005–2017) found justifiable firearm homicide rates increased by 55 percent in states that enacted Stand Your Ground, while these rates increased by 20 percent in states that did not have such laws. 
  • Stand Your Ground laws have also been associated with an increase in nonfatal firearm injuries resulting in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
  • In Stand Your Ground states, homicides in which white shooters kill Black victims are deemed justifiable five times more frequently than when the situation is reversed. 
  • Roughly three out of every five people in Florida claiming Stand Your Ground had prior arrests before killing someone and invoking the law, with about a third of these defendants having previously been arrested for serious crimes like assault and robbery.

More information on so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws is available here. More information on gun violence in Hawaii is available here. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to request an interview with an Everytown policy expert or a volunteer with Hawaii Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action.

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