Skip to comments.Deadly force bill missed target (MN barf alert)
Posted on 04/05/2012 4:50:08 PM PDT by marktwain
Gov. Mark Dayton was right to veto the so-called Castle Doctrine bill, but he did it for the wrong reason.
The bill, co-authored by Minnesota Sen. Gretchen Hoffman of Vergas, would have gone further than the Florida shoot first law now being invoked in the controversial shooting death of a black teenager.
The proposed Minnesota law would not have endangered police officers, and would not have resulted in a rash of shootings.
But it would have made it easier to shoot and kill someone, and the vaguely-worded bill would have made it very difficult to prosecute anyone who used deadly force for just about any reason.
According to an analysis by longtime St. Paul assistant county attorney Thomas Weyandt, an expert in the area of gun laws and deadly force, the bill set a low bar for using deadly force: All that would have been required is fear of substantial bodily harm.
While that may sound serious, state law defines that as including a temporary disfigurement. That means a punch to the face and a black eye would allow the use of deadly force.
Current law limits the right to use deadly force only when threatened with great bodily harm or death. The definition of great bodily harm includes a permanent disfigurement or broken bone.
The law would have allowed people to shoot anyone who entered their home by force or stealth, without requiring the homeowner to retreat.
That may sound good, but the truth of the matter is that most people who enter other peoples homes are not out to cause harm they are generally just drunk and looking for a place to sleep, or confused and lost.
Both have happened in Detroit Lakes just within the past few weeks.
In the case of the drunk, the homeowner pushed the man out the door and called police.
The other case involved a man suffering from dementia, who walked into a mobile home in his neighborhood.
Judging by the police reports we see, such incidents are not uncommon. People generally shoo the drunks away or call the police and let them take care of it.
The most important problem with the proposed Minnesota Castle Doctrine is the fact that there is no duty to retreat in a persons home if someone enters illegally.
Also troublesome is that the proposal would have allowed for the use of deadly force without a duty to retreat in a great many places other than a persons home making it much more difficult to prosecute shootings outside the home.
It also allowed a person to use deadly force if they reasonably feared harm. And the law is tilted towards the shooter, thanks to a provision that creates a presumption that the fear is reasonable.
Current law requires the use of the reasonable-man standard and leaves the question of whether someones fear is reasonable up to a jury.
Without a doubt, people have the right to defend themselves, and anyone who enters a home with evil intent deserves to be shot, but this law would make it too easy to shoot innocent fools.
Being drunk and stupid should not be a death sentence, especially in Detroit Lakes around the Fourth of July and WE Fest.
Governor Dayton is trying to swim against the current. Castle doctrine laws are very popular, dispite the massive propaganda campaign against them.
“there is no duty to retreat in a persons home “
If I’m in my own home, I have already retreated, I won’t back up an inch further.