November 22, 2021 

Tom Fazzini, West End Strategy Team, 202-505-1210

Murder Trial of Ahmaud Arbery is a Reminder About the Deadly Mix of Permissive Gun Laws and Structural Racism

 Gun violence prevention experts: trial is also about “the deadly combination of hate and guns”

WASHINGTON — As closing arguments begin today in the trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, leading gun violence prevention experts noted the linkage between permissive gun laws and racist violence that undermines the community trust necessary to reduce gun violence. 

In a statement highlighting the racial disparities and problems with “stand your ground” laws like the one in Georgia, Lauren Footman, director of outreach and equity for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, called for the repeal of the state’s “stand your ground” law, as well as meaningful steps to address the lethal combination of firearms and racial bias including passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act:

“In many ways this trial is not only about Ahmaud Arbery’s tragic murder, it’s also about the deadly combination of hate and guns that leaves Black boys and men much more likely to die by gun violence than any other group of Americans. To address this disparity, state officials should repeal racist ‘stand your ground’ laws and federal lawmakers should pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and fund community violence intervention. 

“‘Stand your ground’ laws, like the one in Georgia, embolden armed vigilantes and perpetuate structural racism embedded within our criminal justice system by most often benefiting white men, often at the expense of Black victims. ‘Stand your ground’ laws increase the likelihood that Black teens will be shot and killed and increase the likelihood that a white homicide defendant who kills a Black person will have the homicide ruled justified. The laws do not reduce burglary, robbery or aggravated assault, but they do increase homicides by 8% — an additional 600 homicides per year. 

“Additionally, reducing community gun violence in our country requires cooperation between law enforcement and communities built on a foundation of trust. One way to start rebuilding trust is creating a law enforcement culture of transparency and citizen oversight so that community members see police as authentic partners who are genuinely concerned with what is best for the community.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis. Ending it requires equitable implementation of policies including passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and repeal of ‘stand your ground’ laws.”


About the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV) develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms. EFSGV uses a public health and equity lens to identify and implement evidence-based policy solutions and programs to reduce gun violence in all its forms and to make gun violence rare and abnormal. EFSGV is the gun violence prevention movement’s premier research intermediary and founder of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a group of academics and practitioners who collaborate to develop innovative recommendations for policymakers.