Poll: Plurality of Americans Support 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

Dan Joseph
By Dan Joseph | February 21, 2014 | 12:45 PM EST

Nearly half (46%) of Americans favor having a "Stand Your Ground" law in their state while only a third (34%) oppose the laws, a new poll shows.

According to the Rasmussen Reports poll, 41% percent of Americans also believe that "Stand Your Ground" laws improve public safety.

"Stand Your Ground" laws permit individuals to use deadly force in order to defend themselves if they feel their lives are threatened without any legal requirement to attempt to retreat from their attacker.

The laws became the subject of some controversy after the law was initially cited by police as the basis for initially not charging George Zimmerman with the  shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, last year.  The law remained the subject of much debate even though it did not play a role in the trial or eventual acquittal of Zimmerman. A Rasmussen poll conducted after the verdict mirrored the latest results, with 45% supporting "Stand Your Ground" laws.

The laws received additional criticism during the trial of Michael Dunn who was also recently convicted of killing a Florida teen, with some pointing to the shooting as another example of why the laws should be repealed.  This despite the fact that "Stand Your Ground" was not used by Dunn as a defense in his trial.