The Minnesota House could soon vote on a bill to expand justifiable use of deadly force by firearms owners who feel under threat, after a committee advanced the bill Tuesday.
What’s commonly called “Stand Your Ground” legislation cleared the House Public Safety Committee on a 9-6 vote. All Republicans were in favor but one, Rep. Keith Franke of St. Paul Park; the five DFLers present were all opposed. Because the bill missed committee deadlines, it will likely be detoured to a Rules panel before being scheduled for a final vote.
Before the vote, Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, reminded Committee Chair Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, that Gov. Mark Dayton blocked a previous effort in 2012.
“The question is, what is different in this bill compared to when the governor vetoed it last time that causes you to believe there would be any different outcome?” Hilstrom asked.
Cornish replied: “I don’t believe anything.”
Cornish said Dayton often threatens vetoes. The DFL governor’s veto letter from the prior attempt is here.
The bill provides immunity from prosecution to people who meet force with force. It makes it a justifiable use of deadly force to shoot an intruder or counter other imminent threats. The protection applies to encounters in dwellings or vehicles.
“The individual may meet force with superior force when the individual’s objective is defensive; the individual is not required to retreat; and the individual may continue defensive actions against an assailant until the danger has ended,” reads one section.
The immunity wouldn’t apply if someone uses force against known law enforcement officers doing their jobs.
The Republican-led Senate hasn’t held a hearing on companion legislation.