Dayton vetoes deadly force bill

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Dayton: Current deadly force law "is a reasonable standard."
Last night, as expected, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the controversial Defense of Dwelling and Person Act, a bill that would've broadened the rights of property owners to use deadly force.

Citing the fact that the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, and Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association all had spoken out against the measure, Dayton wrote in his veto letter: "When [law enforcement] strongly oppose a measure, because they believe it will increase the dangers to them in the performance of their duties, I cannot support it."

In response, Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas and chief author of the Senate bill, issued a statement saying, "Unfortunately, with the Governor's veto, violent criminals will continue to have the advantage over law-abiding citizens."

Under current law, 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 would've weakened that standard, creating a presumption that anyone who shoots believes they're in great danger.
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Rep. Cornish, House author of the bill, said God willing, deadly force legislation will reach Dayton's desk each year until the measure becomes law.

The bill also would've broadened 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 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.

In addition to law enforcement's concerns about what the bill would do to the safety of officers, other opponents cited concerns about what implications liberalizing deadly force requirements would have in situations like domestic disputes. For instance, Joan Peterson, Protect Minnesota board member member of the Brady Campaign Board, issued the following statement following Dayton's veto:
This bill could give the claim of self-defense to any domestic abuser engaged in a dispute with a partner or spouse. When only two people are involved in a dispute and one of them winds up dead, who is left to disprove the claim of the shooter that s/he was the one threatened? As someone whose sister was shot to death in a domestic case in Minneapolis, I am grateful that Governor Dayton vetoed this bill that could have allowed domestic abusers to get away with murder.
The measure passed by votes of 40-23 in the Senate and 85-47 in the House, so there aren't enough votes to override Dayton's veto. In response, Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder and author of the House version of the bill, said he plans to bring the issue back to the Legislature each year until it becomes law.

Related coverage:
-- Controversial pro-gun "deadly force" bill approved by Senate, likely headed to Dayton
-- Police, prosecutors oppose bill easing "deadly force" requirements
-- Controversial bill easing "deadly force" requirements advancing through legislature


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11 comments
NewsDog
NewsDog

Are you guys really this lazy?

The bill also would've broadened 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 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.This exact same paragraph has been in every story you have written about this topic. Is copy and paste now part of journalism?

When the expanded Castle law was working through the capital here in Texas the arguments were the same. Officially, all the law enforcement groups said it was a bad thing, but individual cops had a vastly different opinion. 

And guess what? Instances of defensive shooting here hasn't gone noticeably up or down. 

HotLunch
HotLunch

NICE! Thank you Gov, for continuing to exceed all of our expectations! We'll get you a dem legislature in a few months! :-)

Leonard
Leonard

For the inevitable person who will criticize the governor for this veto, after you're done calling him a lily-livered, gun hating coward, could you please cite an example where someone who used a firearm to defend herself has been unjustly prosecuted in Minnesota?

I am curious as to what the need for the bill is.  In Florida, gang-bangers are now getting acquitted of murder charges because they just claim that the other guy was going to kill him.  With the presumption in the Florida law (which would have existed in the Minnesota law), prosecutions are unsuccessful if the dead gang banger had any previous violent crime conviction.

By the way, I own several guns and have a carry permit.  I am absolutely confident that if I use my gun to appropriately defend myself that I will not be prosecuted under existing law.

HotLunch
HotLunch

"Instances of defensive shooting here hasn't gone noticeably up or down. " .... Then why do we need additional legislation?

Joe
Joe

 Agreed.  If there is someone in my home in the middle of the night I would rather shoot him and end up in jail than hesitate and let him get the first shot off.

Tim
Tim

 There are at least four examples of case law that have resulted in being prosecuted in MN. I would argue at least some of them may be unjustly:http://caselaw.findlaw.com/mn-...

Amy Klobuchar
Amy Klobuchar

I prefer machete's anyway....chop both hands off and if the criminal comes in with a gun I will use it (in the chopped off hand) to have the criminal comit suicide.

Research
Research

Agree. If you don't have a history of violence this will multiply the chances of a prosecutor coming after you.  Usually the one who's shot would have an extensive record with violence.  It's not black and white but it seems the current justification laws are good.  And there's no doubt criminal would have used this to their benefit while good citizens would have been hurt by it.  Glad it was vetoed.  Actually a lot of what Dayton's doing is pretty good.  Then again the bar was set low.

HotLunch
HotLunch

You guys are the dangerous ones, looking (if not HOPING) for excuses to kill. Shame on you.

Research
Research

Meant multiply the chances a prosecutor wouldn't come after you.

Joe
Joe

 That's the dumbest thing you've ever posted, and that is saying something.  Even if you did know anything about me, common sense should tell you that people aren't wired that way.  Yes, there are exceptions, but those of us who put time into the classes and have clean records in order to get our permits generally aren't.

Shooting someone in self defense is the second to last thing I ever want to do.  (The very last would be getting killed myself).  Because it would be extremely difficult to live with myself afterward.  Not to mention the years and years of legal trouble.

My point is that the current law is vague and could cause someone enough hesitation to get them killed.  The proposed law was not perfect, but it went a long way toward clarifying definitions.  AND it had bipartisan support.  Expect to see this legislation come up again.

All I know is that between this and Dayton caving to the GOP on the budget, I won't be voting for him again.  Hell, I wanted Anderson-Kelliher in the first place.

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