Home Defense Bill Gets to Full Senate (Again)

9 Feb

The Minnesota Senate is set to consider a modification to the portion of Self-Defense in the Home known as Defense of Dwelling.  Under present Minnesota Law, if:

…the killing was done in the belief that it was necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in the dwelling, that the person’s judgment as to the gravity of the situation was reasonable under the circumstances, and that the person’s election to defend his or her dwelling was such as a reasonable person would have made in light of the danger to be apprehended. (roughly from  State v. Hare, 575 N.W.2d 828)

The current rule also provides that Defense of Dwelling is not a claim which can be asserted if the victim is a co-resident.

The proposed rule makes some notable changes. First, the commission of a felony in the home is enough to authorize deadly force regardless of the particular felony. Second, it establishes a presumption that use of deadly force was reasonable if “the person against whom the defensive action is being taken is entering or attempting to enter by force or by stealth, or has entered by force or by stealth and remains within, the dwelling or occupied vehicle of the individual.” Third, it appears to authorize the use of deadly force against a co-resident though does not give a presumption of reasonableness to such action.

What the proposed rule seems to attempt to do is to take the determination of reasonable situations to shoot people from the hands of a jury and instead define those situations in statute.  The concern may stem from the fact that 20/20 hindsight may make what were terrifying circumstances at the time seem like inadequate provocation to kill at trial.

This author is unsure of what conclusions to draw, but will note that the best available pun for this story was the previous “draw” pun, whereas Jake missed several golden opportunities in his recent first amendment article, for example: Abra-cadaver or cadaver? I hardly knew her… I for one expect more.


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