Shooting Down The Crazy
The Minnesota state legislature recently sent a bill to the governor that would have expanded the allowable use of deadly force by citizens. Dubbed "the Castle Law," the measure would have increased the zone of deadly force in self-defense from the home to just about any place a citizen felt threatened. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the bill.
The bill expanded the right of self-defense to yards, decks and porches as well as to vehicles, boats, motorhomes and tents. In what supporters called the "stand your ground" provision, the bill stated that the person facing the threat "is not required to retreat." ...
The bill also required Minnesota to recognize a weapons permit issued by any state, even those with no criminal background checks or training requirements. It would have made it harder for police to temporarily remove guns from volatile domestic situations.
Governor Dayton refused to sign the bill for all sorts of reasons, as well he should have.
The governor rejected the measure, saying Minnesota citizens facing threats already have the legal authority to defend themselves and their families. He also cited strong opposition by organizations representing police officers, chiefs of police and county sheriffs.
Peace officers feared that their own lives would be jeopardized by the law as homeowners felt free to shoot into their own backyard while a police chase was underway. They also feared that the law would prohibit them from removing guns from a home where a domestic dispute looked to turn violent at any moment.
A legislator who voted against the bill correctly assessed just how dangerous the proposed law could turn out to be:
"Whether it's a kid that enters your yard, or a neighbor having a conflict with another neighbor, or a road-rage incident, this bill broadly expands the use of self defense," said Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul. "I think it's reckless, wrong and unneeded."
Perhaps the most salient objection to the law was expressed by a gun-control advocate:
"We are certainly glad that he vetoed the bill," said Joan Peterson, a board member of Protect Minnesota. "This seemed like a bill that was going to allow people to shoot someone as a first impulse rather than as your last impulse." [Emphasis added]
Contrary to the philosophy of the NRA, which supported the bill (no surprise there), a heavily armed citizenry does not make for a civil society. We've seen how well that idea works out time and time again.
Gov. Dayton will take plenty of heat for his veto when he comes up for re-election, but he made the right call. How refreshing.
Labels: Gun Control