A gun-rights advocates’ campaign to make it easier to use deadly force in self-defense is rapidly winning support, as state after state makes it legal for people who feel their lives are in danger to shoot down an attacker, reports the Associated Press. With the laws has come debate about whether they protect against lawlessness or spur more crime. Backers call them an unambiguous answer to random violence; critics, including police chiefs and prosecutors, warn that criminals are more likely to benefit than innocent victims.
Ten states this year have passed a version of the law, after Florida was the first last year. Supporters dub the measures “stand your ground” laws; critics offer nicknames like the “shoot first,” “shoot the Avon lady” or “right to commit murder” laws. Besides Oklahoma, the nine other states to enact them this year are Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and South Dakota, say the National Rifle Association. Critics say the NRA is overstating its success. Only six of those states expanded self-defense into public places, says the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.