Stand Your Ground Laws Complicate Matters For Black Gun Owners

Harvard historian Caroline Light grew up with guns. Her family lived in Southwestern Virginia, and her parents regularly enjoyed hunting and shooting skeet (clay targets). They used guns on a recreational basis, not for what Light calls “do-it-yourself self-defense.”

Yet that’s precisely what millions of Americans are doing — arming themselves with guns on the off chance that they will need them. Several versions of “stand your ground laws,” which allow individuals to use lethal force if they fear for their lives, have grown exponentially in the past few decades. The law’s premise stems from a “kill-or-be-killed” philosophy, Light says, that has become “an ideology, and ideal, that’s been rapidly spreading throughout the United States for a while.”