Minnesota Governor Vetoes Castle Doctrine Bill

In recent months, several states have seen the introduction, or at least discussion, of bills that would change the typical “Castle Doctrine” to have a broader scope, overturning the legal expectations of law abiding citizens on the street and elsewhere. In most jurisdictions, if someone forces their way into your house, points a gun at you, and is impolite about it, it is OK to blow them away with your cherished firearm. If, however, someone makes threatening and obnoxious motions out in public and they are not right in your face you are not allowed to pull out your piece and shoot them. You must retreat to safety and call the authorities. There is a line between an armed and aggressive intruder and a threatening person in a public space; on one side of this line you may shoot to kill, on the other side you must not. The various recently considered bills would move that line towards the public square and the less threatening situation. For instance, in most jurisdictions you can’t pull out your gun and shoot someone who threatens you in your car, but the new bills would allow that sort of thing.

In Minnesota we managed, much to our chagrin, to acquire a lot of teabagging Republicans during the last few years, which are now slowly going away as they either melt down, mellow out, or hopefully over the next two years, get unelected. But at the moment we have a mainly right wing legislature. Governor Mark Dayton, in contrast, is a classic Liberal. So, when the legislature passed a Castle Doctrine bill that would allow people to shoot each other from within their cars (among other things), Governor Dayton summarily vetoed it.

From the Star Tribune:

It would have changed the legal definitions of self-defense for someone facing a serious threat in their homes, and would have expanded this “castle doctrine” to cars, motor homes, boats and even tents.

… It would also have legalized concealed-weapons permits issued by all states, regardless of their standards in granting permits, and limited the situations in which police can temporarily remove weapons from homes in volatile situations.

Law enforcement organizations strongly condemned the proposal, saying it could risk officers’ lives.
Dayton made his veto by letter without commenting publicly.

In his veto letter, Dayton said, he had to honor the opposition of law enforcement.

“The MN Police and Peace Officers Association, the MN Chiefs of Police and the MN Sheriffs Association represent the men and woman who risk their lives every day and night to protect the rest of us. When they strongly oppose a measure, because they believe it will increase the dangers to them in the performance of their duties, I cannot support it,” Dayton wrote.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Tony Cornish from Good Thunder, Minnesota, replied, to paraphrase, “We’ll be back.”

I’m thinking probably not.

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22 Responses to Minnesota Governor Vetoes Castle Doctrine Bill

  1. Alverant says:

    Those kind of bills always scared me because how flexible “threatened” can be. As Atheists our very existence can be considered a threat to someone for example. This opens the door to “preemptive self-defense” where you can pretty much kill someone because you THINK they may be a threat to you in some way.

  2. Dan-o says:

    I hope you whiners feel safer now.

  3. gwen says:

    Is there a possibility of an over-ride? That whole concept is VERY scary.

  4. kraut says:

    “I hope you whiners feel safer now.

    I feel threatened by your comment.

    You are aware of the consequences of my feeling threatened in a public place..

  5. Drivebyposter says:

    I hope you whiners feel safer now.

    I hope you grow up, you fucking infant.

  6. kyoseki says:

    Is it just me, or was the veto only concerned with the well-being of police officers? Hopefully there was more to this veto than just that, I would rather hope that he put the well-being of the general public first and foremost (which would also call for a veto of this terribly ill thought out bill).

    I really don’t like the “stand your ground” interpretation of castle doctrine, because it legitimizes shootings where there was no actual threat (and this law seems to have been a prime example), but if the only reason he vetoed it was because of law enforcement opposition based purely around the idea that it puts cops in jeopardy, I have to question the motives of both the governor and the police chiefs pushing him.

    Guns are and should always be a weapon of last resort, any kind of laws delineating self defense should really reinforce this rather than pandering to the terminally terrified.

  7. A says:

    If this law would pass, and I stop my car at a red light next to another one with an armed guy in it, and if I feel threatened, I may shoot him? So if he thinks I’ll feel threatend by him (maybe he has tattoos or is black or I look easily frightened), he has to expect me to shoot him the next second, so he’d be well-advised to shoot me. But then I would probably want to shoot first, etc.

  8. 3CCWPermitHolder says:

    Drivebyposter says:
    March 6, 2012 at 12:59 am
    I hope you whiners feel safer now.

    I hope you grow up, you fucking infant.

    Wow! Now who’s really the infant? Bad words make me scared. You must really be smart and knowledgeable to use words like that. Dayton needs to be voted out…and he will be!

  9. G26 says:

    I think most people are really over using the word “threatened”
    Just because you aren’t comfortable doesn’t mean you are threatened, or feel threatened.
    Seriously people, we all know what threatened means, grow up and stop putting spin on it.

  10. yarpirate says:

    Congratulations. Removing the rights of law-abiding citizens generally makes you safer. It’s so evident now in Washington DC and Chicago, IL there is no handgun crime at all, since they’re banned.

    I mean, it’s almost like we should ban murder… haha, why haven’t we thought of that one?

  11. N. Nescio says:

    In my home state, Castle Doctrine law regarding motor vehicles kept me out of jail. A friend’s crazy stalker ex-boyfriend attempted to drag her out of the window of my car one evening, causing me to fear for her and my safety. I applied the necessary amount of force to stop his attack and second attempted attack, and then left the scene.

    He later went to the hospital, and then to the police with photos and x-rays of his badly fractured face, and a ridiculous story about how I ran up on him out of nowhere and beat him for no reason at all.

    A few days later I got a phone call from a police Detective, explained what happened and gave him my friend’s phone number. She corroborated my story, the detective called me back and told me that due to State law I had every right to defend myself and my friend from attack, and that I could have legally applied lethal force had the situation warranted it (it did not, and I WAS carrying at the time), and that the County Prosecutor would not press charges.

    Castle Doctrine does enable people to defend themselves from attack in places they are lawfully able to be, all the utterly absurd scenarios here to the side.

  12. Josh says:

    Regarding N. Nesico‘s story, if Castle Doctrine is to apply to conveyances as well as homes, it should absolutely only apply in the same way–that is, YOU being in your car isn’t enough to trigger it, your assailant must ALSO be inside or attempting to get inside your car.

    In the same way that a typical Castle Doctrine law doesn’t allow you to shoot a guy standing on the sidewalk in front of your house and yelling.

    In short, the wording of the law expanding the right to conveyances is key to determining whether or not the veto was a good thing. Based on the governor’s characterization of the law in the linked article, this gun nut is happy with the veto.

  13. baal says:

    An override is unlikely. The bill didn’t pass with enough for one and the no votes won’t flip for this issue.

    and dan-o, sour grapes?

  14. mas528 says:

    @3CCWPermitHolder

    The complaint of the infant, “he said a bad word”.

    No. He said an adult word in an adult way

    You are an infant.

    • 3CCWPermitHolder says:

      I don’t consider the word he used an adult word, but evidently you find it acceptable in your vocabulary. Calling people names really lessens any shred of credibility you may have been able eek out of someone. Most of us would agree with this thought process. I guess that puts you both into the same category. Maybe you can find the Craigslist people more acceptable of this type of language and your name calling.

      The bottom line is that what he did was wrong. One day I hope he regrets his decision. It very possibly could be when e is up for re-election.

  15. mas528 says:

    Whaa! You called me a bad name! Whaa!

    You can have your opinions, you can’t have your own facts.
    “Fuck” is a word that adults use. Or do you let your children say that?

    When someone says something inchoerent, there is no need to respond qualitatively. suggested reading: the inchoerence principle.

    He never will, as he well be elected by a landslide.
    Banal people like you will watch our country rise into prosperity ,morality, and plenty.

    Tone troll.

  16. N. Nescio says:

    “a Castle Doctrine bill that would allow people to shoot each other from within their cars”

    This is the version of the bill I’m going off of:
    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H1467.0.html&session=ls87

    Subd. 2. Circumstances when authorized. (a) The use of deadly force by an individual is justified under this section when the act is undertaken:
    (1) to resist or prevent the commission of a felony in the individual’s dwelling;
    (2) to resist or prevent what the individual reasonably believes is an offense or attempted offense that imminently exposes the individual or another person to substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death; or
    (3) to resist or prevent what the individual reasonably believes is the commission or imminent commission of a forcible felony.

    “Subd. 3. Degree of force; retreat. An individual taking defensive action pursuant to subdivision 2 may use all force and means, including deadly force, that the individual honestly and in good faith believes is required to succeed in defense. The individual may meet force with superior force when the individual’s objective is defensive; the individual is not required to retreat; and the individual may continue defensive actions against an assailant until the danger is eliminated.”

    “The various recently considered bills would move that line towards the public square and the less threatening situation. For instance, in most jurisdictions you can’t pull out your gun and shoot someone who threatens you in your car, but the new bills would allow that sort of thing.”

    Why should somebody in a vehicle not be permitted to defend themselves and/or their passengers from “substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death” when they’re lawfully present in their own property?

    Ever live in a ‘bad part of town’? The kind of place where you don’t wear or carry anything you’re not okay with losing? Attempted robbery while a vehicle is stopped at a stoplight is certainly not a “less threatening situation” than somebody trying to rob you in your home.

  17. Rick Pikul says:

    N. Nesico‘s story doesn’t even relate to the castle doctrine in the first place. The story does not involve a situation where those threatened could safely retreat. With his comment at 17, it becomes clear that he does not even understand what the castle doctrine is.

    N: Being in a situation where the castle doctrine does not apply does _not_ mean that you cannot defend yourself or someone else from substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death. It doesn’t even mean that you can’t use lethal force, it just means that you must chose to retreat if you can do so safely and retreating will remove the threat.

  18. Greg Laden says:

    Why should somebody in a vehicle not be permitted to defend themselves and/or their passengers from “substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death” when they’re lawfully present in their own property?

    Because most people are already getting it wrong when they do it in their homes, but at least there it is somewhat contained. Allowing this kind of insanity in cars and other places would be very dangerous.

    Ever live in a ‘bad part of town’? The kind of place where you don’t wear or carry anything you’re not okay with losing? Attempted robbery while a vehicle is stopped at a stoplight is certainly not a “less threatening situation” than somebody trying to rob you in your home.

    I’m thinking you would not know a “bad part of town” if it bit you no the ass.

  19. N. Nescio says:

    “N. Nesico‘s story doesn’t even relate to the castle doctrine in the first place.”

    Except for that part where I specifically pointed out how my home State’s castle doctrine and no duty to retreat laws protected me from prosecution in the situation I described. Strike one.

    The story does not involve a situation where those threatened could safely retreat.

    You’re omniscient, now? Strike two.

    With his comment at 17, it becomes clear that he does not even understand what the castle doctrine is.

    I am well aware of what castle doctrine is, and how it applies in the State that I reside in. I even gave a specific example of how it applied to my own life, and gave me legal protection from prosecution when I used force in order to defend a passenger in my vehicle. Strike three. Let me know when you’re willing to discuss this like an adult, even if you disagree with me.

  20. N. Nescio says:

    Because most people are already getting it wrong when they do it in their homes, but at least there it is somewhat contained. Allowing this kind of insanity in cars and other places would be very dangerous.

    Really? 17 States have ‘stand your ground/no duty to retreat’ laws in place, and yet they haven’t turned into blood-soaked shoot em’ up battlegrounds like individuals such as yourself predict. If I’m wrong, please show me. I’m a reasonable person, and am willing to amend my views given effective argument.

    “I’m thinking you would not know a “bad part of town” if it bit you no the ass.”

    I understand that you disagree with me, and hold different views on firearms and self-defense than I do, and that’s fine. The petty and childish response you have offered is not going to convince me to change my mind about anything. I spent several years living a few blocks off Broadway near the harbor in Gary, Indiana. It was a dangerous place to live, and I got out of there as soon as I could do so.

  21. dereknord says:

    Officer’s lives are already at risk from those who do not obey the law. Letting a bunch of law abiding citizens have a little more freedom isn’t going to hurt any officers. Why don’t people understand this? This doctrine didn’t matter one bit to anybody that doesn’t abide by the law, they are going to shoot at officers whether this was in place or not. THE LAW DOESN’T MATTER TO THEM, THAT’S WHY THEY ARE CRIMINALS. This was a doctrine for law abiding citizens. I can’t believe the lack of knowledge on gun laws in these posts. People still think we can get rid of all guns in this country. The only guns you’re going to get rid of are the legal ones, the ones you can track. Then we’ll all be in trouble because the only people who will have any force are the criminals (who get them through illegal means and we can’t track them) and the government (remember Hitler anyone?). Ridiculous…