Self Defense Legislation Would Legalize What Most of Us Would Consider Murder


I am a staunch proponent of 2nd amendment rights, but legislation down in Bismarck goes well beyond the concept of keeping and bearing arms. It would expand the definitions of permissible use of force to protect yourself and your property to a troubling degree.

The bill is SB2315, introduced by state Senator David Clemens of West Fargo, and it would make it legal to use deadly force “prevent the other individual’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft, or criminal mischief.”

Here’s an excerpt from the bill, which you can read in full below:

Later the bill also excises from current law a legal requirement that someone thinking of using deadly force first try to retreat, or convince the intruder to retreat.

There are a number of big problems here.

First is that list of instances when deadly force is lawfully justified. It’s one thing to say that you can shoot someone who is in your home and about to cause you or another person there harm. It’s quite another to justify shooting someone up to “criminal mischief.” Like, say, vandalizing your car.

Second, the law would justify shooting someone who is already fleeing.

That’s not self defense. That’s murder. So is shooting down some teenager who was keying your car.

Again, this legislation has nothing to do with gun rights. It’s about justifying violence in situations where, quite frankly, it simply isn’t justified.

Here’s the full bill:

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