Stand Your Ground

  • Kimberly Kessler FerzanEmail author


This chapter examines the moral justifiability of “stand your ground” (SYG) laws. First, it sets forth the parameters of self-defense as understood in the philosophical literature. Next, it focuses on the necessity limitation and questions whether this limitation can be defensibly weakened to accommodate SYG laws. Finding no comfort for SYG statutes in a weakened necessity limitation, the chapter turns to the proportionality constraint and examines approaches that increase the interests that may permissibly be defended as well as approaches that abandon proportionality altogether. Finally, this chapter maintains that the most perspicuous lens through which to view SYG laws is that of law enforcement because what SYG laws actually do is place citizens in the role of police. The justifiability of such enforcement authority turns, then, on two further questions. It must be appropriate for citizens to serve this function. But second, it must be appropriate for the state to stand its ground.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Virginia School of LawCharlottesvilleUSA

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