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Minnesota House considers ‘Make My Day’ law

Legislators in the Minnesota House introduced legislation on Thursday that would allow for the use of deadly force when a perpetrator is committing a felony in someone’s home, yard, boat or tent or when there’s a threat of “substantial” physical harm. Often called the “castle doctrine” or a “make my day” law, the bill would extend current “retreat first” law that says if a person has access to a safe retreat, they are required to take the retreat as opposed to using deadly force.

The bill, HF1467, would also extend firearm transfer permits from one year to five years, but would require yearly background checks. Those transfer permits are used to purchase firearms, including semi-automatic weapons, from federally licensed dealers. The bill also requires the state to alert the National Instant Criminal Background Check System when a person is entered into a pre-trial diversion program and is ineligible from owning a firearm.

The most controversial provision of the bill, the Defense of Dwelling and Person Act of 2011, allows the use of deadly force in certain circumstances.

The bill allows it in order “to resist or prevent the commission of a felony in the individual’s dwelling.” Dwelling is defined as a home, but also includes tents or boats.

Deadly force is also allowed when a person is illegally trying to enter a home or vehicle. Vehicles under the proposed law would include a range of modes of transportation including but not limited to animal-powered buggies, airplanes and Segways.

Such force is also allowed anywhere someone reasonably believes they are in immediate danger of life or limb. The bill says a person can use deadly force against someone else who “imminently exposes the individual or another person to substantial bodily harm, great bodily harm, or death.”

Similar bills have popped up across the country, especially in states that where Republicans made gains at the state level, such as Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Alaska and Pennsylvania.

The has been offered in Minnesota before with some members of law enforcement coming out strongly against it.

The bill was introduced by Republican Reps. Tony Cornish of Good Thunder, Steve Smith of Mound, Joe Hoppe of Chaska, Mary Kiffmeyer of Big Lake; Bud Nornes of Fergus Falls, Sondra Erickson of Princeton, Mary Liz Holberg of Lakeville, Tara Mack of Apple Valley, Dan Fabian of Roseau, Torrey Westrom of Elbow Lake, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa, Mike Benson of Rochester, Mary Franson of Alexandria, Peggy Scott of Andover, Bruce Anderson of Buffalo Township, Duane Quam of Byron, Bob Dettmer of Forest Lake, Joe McDonald of Delano, Doug Wardlow of Eagan, Ernie Leidiger of Mayer, King Banaian of St. Cloud, Kurt Bills of Rosemount, Paul Torkelson of Nelson Township, Bruce Vogel of Willmar, Greg Davids of Preston, Mike LeMieur of Little Falls, Ron Shimanski of Silver Lake, Kathy Lohmer of Lake Elmo, Steve Gottwalt of St. Cloud, and Pat Garofalo of Farmington.

DFLers sponsoring the bill are Reps. David Dill of Crane Lake, Lyle Koenen of Clara City, Tom Anzelc of Balsam Township, John Persell of Bemidji, and Paul Marquart of Dilworth.

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