Bill Cosby says Trayvon Martin case is about gun ownership, not race
Comedian Bill Cosby says the Trayvon Martin case is not about racism, it is about gun ownership. The Trayvon Martin case has also put a spotlight on Stand Your Ground laws.
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The trends are most pronounced in larger states like Texas, which expanded its law in 2007. Between 2008 and 2010, Texas averaged 47.7 justifiable homicides per year for a total of 143 — up from an annual average of 33 and a total of 99 justifiable homicides between 2005 and 2007, according to the FBI data.Skip to next paragraph
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Still, justifiable homicides by citizens remained a tiny fraction of all homicides in Texas before and after the law was enacted — 2.2 percent between 2005 and 2007 and 3.3 percent between 2008 and 2010.
The FBI data for some states didn't significantly change after the new laws took effect. Louisiana, which enacted its law in 2006, averaged 12.3 justifiable homicides per year between 2007 and 2010. Between 2003 and 2006, it averaged 11.5.
The FBI numbers are based on voluntary reporting by law enforcement agencies and aren't comprehensive, which means they can't serve as ironclad evidence that expanding a person's right to protect life, limb and property leads to increases — or decreases — in the numbers of homicides deemed justifiable.
Small sample sizes in many states make it difficult to determine if the new or amended laws have had a practical effect. The way law enforcement agencies report the data also could explain why some states report increased numbers of justifiable homicides. For instance, yearly comparisons could be skewed if larger agencies in a state changed their reporting systems or only recently started reporting the data to the FBI.
Florida's justifiable homicides nearly tripled after the state enacted its law in 2005, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, from an annual average of 13.2 between 2001 and 2005 to an average of 36 between 2006 and 2010.
The Florida shooting has sparked a national campaign against such laws. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with several civil rights organizations, is leading an effort to repeal or reform laws similar to Florida's, though it's too soon to say if that movement will gain traction.
Associated Press writers Michael Kunzelman and Troy Thibodeaux in New Orleans, Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida, Greg Bluestein in Atlanta, Eric Tucker in Washington and Michael Biesecker in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.