California’s court-developed Stand Your Ground law

by Walter Olson on April 18, 2012

Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle has an excellent report on California’s longstanding recognition of Stand Your Ground self-defense principles in public places, which developed through judicial rather than legislative action. He reports that “even Californians who illegally carry handguns can invoke the stand-your-ground doctrine, as shown in a 2005 ruling by a state appeals court in Santa Ana.” By contrast, compare the misleading-at-best map run in Wednesday’s news-side Wall Street Journal, which purports to show states with “stand your ground laws in place” but treats California as not having one. The WSJ lists its sources for the map as “Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; Legal Community Against Violence; National Conference of State Legislatures.” Perhaps the paper was relying overmuch on input from anti-gun groups that have sought to portray Stand Your Ground as a novelty foisted on state legislatures in recent years, thus underplaying the doctrine’s deep historical roots in much of America.

Notwithstanding tendentious efforts to politicize the issue of late, it’s also worth noting that leading Democratic governors like Janet Napolitano (Arizona) and Jennifer Granholm (Michigan) were among those to sign Stand Your Ground laws in the post-2005 wave of new legislative adoptions [Hawkins, Breitbart] Earlier on Stand Your Ground here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.