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UCLA School of Law




The February 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin has slowly reignited the national conversation about race and violence. Despite the sheer volume of debate arising from this tragedy, insufficient attention has been paid to the potentially deadly mix of guns and implicit bias. Evidence of implicit bias, and its power to alter real-world behavior, is stronger now than ever. A growing body of research on “shooter bias” reveals that, as a result of implicit bias, White and Black Americans are more likely to shoot unarmed Black men than unarmed White men. The problem has been diagnosed. What remains to be determined is the solution. While defusing implicit bias is a daunting task, the stakes are too high to ignore the problem. States, responsible for laws regulating gun ownership and use, must help defuse implicit bias before it becomes deadly.

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