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With the recent school shootings and subsequent student protests in the news, gun legislation is getting a lot of press these days. While many activists are talking about gun control and ways to get more guns off the streets, some states are passing legislation to increase or clarify citizens' use of guns in self-defense. Idaho is one such state, and both sides of the issue have a lot to say about their new "Stand Your Ground" law.
Idaho's Stand Your Ground Law
Proponents of the new law say that it merely codifies protections that are already written in case law and jury instructions. Generally, stand your ground laws describe the circumstances under which you have no duty to retreat; when you can use deadly force instead. This bill says that not only may you do so in your home when threatened by an intruder, but you may also stand your ground at your place of employment or in an occupied car. Proponents included state Republicans and the NRA.
Bill Will Exonerate Unreasonable Killings
Opponents of the new law -- including state Democrats, the ACLU, and gun control groups -- argue that this legislation is dangerous and too broad. They point to other states that have enacted stand your ground laws where so-called 'justifiable homicides' have increased. They also argue that these laws disproportionately affect racial minorities and that they encourage impulsive use of deadly force.
Even the state's republican governor, Butch Otter, expressed concerns while allowing it to become law without his signature. He worries that the new law "will exonerate killings that otherwise would be considered unreasonable," and that it should be reviewed during the next legislative session. The law goes into effect on July 1.
If you've had to use force in self-defense, or someone injured you claiming self-defense, speak with an attorney as soon as possible to know your rights and discuss your options.