Controversial pro-gun "deadly force" bill approved by Senate, likely headed to Dayton

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One DFL senator thinks the bill would give Minnesota the loosest gun laws in the nation.
Yesterday, with a mostly party-line 40-23 vote, the Minnesota Senate approved the controversial Defense of Dwelling and Person Act, a bill that broadens the rights of property owners to use deadly force.

Since the House passed a version of the bill last year, the legislation should soon reach the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton, who has hinted in recent days that he'll veto the bill because of the law enforcement community's concerns.

Sen. Barb Goodwin, D-Columbia Heights, made the bold claim that the bill, if it becomes law, would give Minnesota the loosest gun laws in the nation.

Currently, citizens who use deadly force have an obligation to demonstrate that they fired as a last resort, and that their decision to shoot is one other reasonable people would make. The Defense Act, sponsored in the Senate by Rep. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, weakens that standard, creating a presumption that anyone who shoots believes they're in great danger.

The bill would also broaden the definition of a "dwelling" to include vehicles, boats, and hotel rooms. So for example, if a stranger walked up to your car while you're stopped at a stoplight and they try to open the door, the Defense Act would presumably allow you to lawfully shoot and kill them. Under current law, a vehicle isn't considered a dwelling and even when at home, there has to be good reason to believe your well-being is in jeopardy before you can lawfully shoot.

County attorneys are concerned that easing the deadly force requirement -- a top national priority of the National Rifle Association -- will make it more difficult to prosecute gun violence cases. And police are worried that expanding the set of circumstances where people can legally use deadly force will make their job more dangerous.

According to MPR, the bill approved by the Senate also includes provisions banning weapon confiscations by law enforcement during declared emergencies, and recognizing weapons permits from other states. Currently, permits are only recognized from the 14 states that have gun laws similar to Minnesota. Under the bill approved yesterday by the Senate, permits from states with lower standards would be recognized in Minnesota.
gretchen hoffman.jpg
Hoffman argues her bill is all about empowering Minnesotans to defend themselves, but DFLers characterize it as a solution in search of a problem.

Hoffman said she thinks "we need to empower people to allow them to protect themselves." But opponents note that current law already allows citizens to use deadly force when they're under grave threat, and argue the bill replaces an objective deadly force standard with a harder-to-enforce subjective one.

Sen. John Harrington, D-St. Paul and the former St. Paul police chief, said the bill "has ominous implications for the peace and well-being of Minnesota," adding that "the changes in this bill are absolutely sweeping and unnecessary."

MPR reports that Dayton, when asked whether he'll sign the bill, suggested he's sympathetic to the objections voiced by the law enforcement community.

"I went to the funeral of a courageous police officer in Lake City just a couple of weeks ago, Shawn Schneider -- and his widow and three children," Dayton said. "I don't want to do that again, and I don't want to do anything that they believe based on their considerable experience is going to put their lives at greater risk."

Related coverage:
-- Police, prosecutors oppose bill easing "deadly force" requirements
-- Controversial bill easing "deadly force" requirements advancing through legislature


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34 comments
Mel Little
Mel Little

do black and hispanic people get to use this law, too?

yes vote
yes vote

Gretchen Hoffman,  way to stand up for the law abiding citizens of this great state of MN.  SOME police are apposed to this new law and some are not, so be it.  I for one can not carrie a cop in my pocket and choose to portect my family as well as myself anywhere and  anytime  No more retreat.  Now maybe the bad guys will think twice. 

Ldyrdal
Ldyrdal

How about this.  Don't break into people's homes and vehicles, and this bill won't even matter.

Greg
Greg

And so,,, welcome back to the 'Wild West',,

thorntron3030
thorntron3030

I would rather depend on defending myself than "police" defending my safety.  It will make criminals who prey on the weak and unknowingly a little more hesitant before they try to carjack someone, or burglarize someone's personal property, and could prevent a victim from becoming another statistic.  Time are changing, and criminals are not playing by any rules, and what are "police" actually doing to help protect you?  Routine traffic stops to find a small amount?  Hiding on the highways to bust you in a police speed trap?  Or I got it, they are doing exactly what COP stands for, Community Orientated Policing, or directly interacting with the community on a regular basis, preventing crime?  Very doubtful, and for me, I like my lax gun laws.  It may make a criminal hesitate before they decide who will be their next victim, maybe...

Dave2
Dave2

 Enough of this giving the intruder the first shot when they threaten deathly harm. People should be able to lawfully protect themselves. As for police objections, maybe lawmakers should scrutinize some of the unwarrated police shootings.  

pizza
pizza

This Hoffman lady looks ripe for Mike Cornkorb, by the way. Just his type!

pizza
pizza

Looking forward to the gov veto, and voting a big fat NO on this in Nov (as well as removing a lot of the R's from the awful job they have done). Jobs, jobs jobs! What a joke.

Ldyrdal
Ldyrdal

And if this were passed, maybe some people would think twice about breaking and entering.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

So you're another goof repeating a well known liberal lie of the past?How did history play out the last time you fear mongering liberals used that lie?

Acey-deucy
Acey-deucy

dear idiot:

in the eyes of another person, you might just be the very "threat" that will allow them to pump your dumb ass full of lead. everyone sees this as the answer to their problem; however, no one seems to think they'll be on the other end and BE the problem.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

So, an average citizen is capable of rationally deciding whether they're in serious danger, but we should step-up enforcement of unwarranted shootings by trained police officers? How can you demand that we increase investigate the wrongful use of deadly force by cops while also suggesting that any American with a licensed gun would make an appropriate and rational judgement in shooting someone?

pizza
pizza

You already can lawfully protect yourself. And please read what else the bill allows, that's the problem - it's NOT a well-though-out bill at all. It needs a ton of work. You want to get shot in a road rage incident or just playing at the damn park, and allow the lowlife to get away with it? Do you? Really? Let's re-work this thing and come back.

Also, cite ONE instance of a homeowner being held accountable for a shooting in MN. Just ONE. I'm not asking for miracles, just ONE legitimate example of what you claim to be afraid of. Just ONE, please. I won't hold my breath.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Hey "junk food" hasn't Michelle Obama banned you yet?

And by the way, jobs,jobs,jobs was only part of what the Republicans said they were to do. Apparently you and others have chosen to focus on the one thing your feeblelittle minds could grasp. Should we pull up the 2010 Republican campaign flyersand astound the masses with your petty misdirection?

BTW, how that Guantanamo Bay promise going?

Sojourner
Sojourner

When was the last time you were victim of a breaking and entering? Another right-ring boogeyman.

HotLunch
HotLunch

Dear doucher:Thank you for making me feel better about myself.

thorntron3030
thorntron3030

Well enjoy protecting yourself with you "knife-hands" and assessment that everyone is the problem.  Let me know how government protection on regulation helps you, as for me, Im content by my protector (1911).

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

*increase investigating*

We should not be making it easier to lawfully kill people. Cops make plenty of mistakes with deadly force, and they're TRAINED to make these decisions. I barely trust the police, but I still trust them a hell of a lot more than a random person with a gun license.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

 Lies, Lies, LiesYa I actually watched this debate on the Senate Floor yesterday and you fear mongers are all the same.  Yes in deed, you all miss the fact that in order to carry a gun in public ONE STILL NEEDS A "CARRY AND CONCEAL".  This bill would not circumvent the current law and allow a "lowlife to get away with it."And as you can see people, liberals like to mislead and fear monger.  These objections are based solely on "feelings".  

Besides, didn't all you fools say their would be mass shootings if the carry and conceal law was passed a few years back?  Were those liberal lies?  Or were those true thoughts and feelings?Yep, history has shown you to be wrong...

lets work together
lets work together

your comment that no homeowners are being held accountable is thanks to a clever scheme between lawyers and lawmakers(who I know are mostly lawyers) where that the criminal court does not come after you, the get you in civil court, right or wrong does not matter with the way the current law is, it was still your choice to shoot, so therefore they come after you, by suing your homeowners insurance, and one might say well how does that affect someone who defended his life in his own house, try to get homeowners insurance after they paid the max claim possible, you will loose your home.  With the new law, defending yourself in your home is no longer a decision that can be challenged, they came to your house, tried to harm you or your children and you have the legal right to shoot them, without having to forfeit your home for lack of insurance, 

pizza
pizza

how that Guantanamo Bay promise going? Well, the repubs won't allow it to close, so you tell me.

HotLunch
HotLunch

The new pizza is the old michelle bachman. Still as dumb, just with a cooler name.

HotLunch
HotLunch

Don't do anything idiotic and you won't have to worry about anything. Having ownership of one's self scares some, but it really doesn't have to.

Sojourner
Sojourner

Since I for some reason can't reply to HotLunch, should note the above comment is directed at his question.

Sojourner
Sojourner

Apples and oranges. Some woman getting an abortion doesn't harm me at all. You having a gun could potentially hurt me a lot, if I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I really don't see why that's a relevant question.

HotLunch
HotLunch

When was the last time you needed an abortion?

Ldyrdal
Ldyrdal

Thought about it more.  This could be bad for law enforcement.  I'm not sold on this bill.

Joe
Joe

 If I shoot an intruder in my home, the "mistake" is theirs, not mine.

pizza
pizza

You calling anyone a "fear monger" is downright laughable. Listen to yourself, the biggest paranoid fear monger of them all!

Joe
Joe

Can we please stop making this a liberal vs. conservative thing? 

I am a gun carrying liberal and there are many like me.

Mike Brodkorb
Mike Brodkorb

holy run-on sentence batman! try again. english.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Are you that dumb, simply uneducated to anything that happened earlier than last week, brainwashed, or simply a liberal liar?I guessing a liberal liar.  The "ends justify the means right"?At the time that Obama tried to close Guantanamo Detention Center, THE DEMOCRATS HAD COMPLETE CONTROL of the house, senate, and the presidency!!! 

FROM NPR-May 20, 2009 In a major setback for President Obama, Senate Democrats have removed funding to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba from the emergency war spending bill. They said no money will be considered until the president sends Congress a detailed plan on where the prison's 240 detainees would go.Closing down the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is going to cost money. President Obama has requested $80 million, and he's run into a bipartisan wall of opposition in Congress. Yesterday, Senate Democrats - who had included the funding in a larger war spending bill - decided to strip it out, just as House Democrats have done.

Senator BEN NELSON (Democrat, Nebraska): Certainly, I've made it clear, you know, they're not welcome in Nebraska. And Kansas can do what it wants, but that'd still be too close to Nebraska for me.

Senator HARRY REID (Democrat, Nevada; Senate Majority Leader): Democrats, under no circumstances, will move forward without a comprehensive, responsible plan from the president. And we will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States. I think the president will come up with a plan. Once that plan is given to us, then we'll have the opportunity to debate his plan. Now is not the time to do it.

Prohibiting Funds for TransferIn May of 2009, the Senate voted on an amendment to prohibit funding to transfer, release, or incarcerate detainees detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to or within the United States. The amendment passed 90-6. Charles Schumer voted in favor of the legislation to prohibit funding for transferring detainees.

Preventing funds from Transferring Detainees to the USIn November of 2009, the senate voted on an amendment to the appropriations bill to prevent funds from being used to construct facilities to house detainees in the US or to move detainees to the US. The measure failed (was tabled) 57-43. Charles Schumer voted against restricting funding by voting to table the amendment.

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