The yearly number of justifiable homicides in Georgia has almost doubled since 2006, when the controversial "stand your ground" self-defense law was passed, the Associated Press reports.
According to the AP, Georgia averaged seven justifiable homicides per year in the three years before the law took effect. Between 2007 and 2011, it averaged 13 per year.
Most self-defense laws state that when citizens feel their lives are in danger, they have a duty to retreat if possible before responding with deadly force. "Stand your ground" laws eliminate or reduce the duty to retreat.
"Stand your ground" laws have been under national scrutiny in recent months after the killing of Florida youth Trayvon Martin. Florida's "stand your ground" law was initially given as a reason not to charge Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, for killing the unarmed teenager. Zimmerman has since been charged with second-degree murder.
Many law enforcement officials are reluctant to tie Georgia's spike in justifiable homicides to the law, the AP reported. However, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told the AP he thought the increase could be linked because citizens might be more confident about using their guns when they perceive a threat.
Should "stand your ground" laws be repealed?