North Dakota House approves 'stand-your-ground' bill
The so-called "stand-your-ground" legislation would expand the existing "castle" law that permits the use of deadly force at one's home or workplace but requires an effort to escape the attacker in other circumstances.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota House of Representatives has approved legislation that would significantly loosen the law on using deadly force in self-defense.
The lower chamber voted 77-16 on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to send House Bill 1498 across the hall to the Senate for consideration. The bill would allow anyone to use deadly force against an assailant without attempting to retreat from the situation. The legislation would not apply if the person using deadly force provoked his or her adversary.
The so-called "stand-your-ground" legislation would expand the existing "castle" law that permits the use of deadly force at one's home or workplace but requires an effort to escape the attacker in public places unless one's life is in danger.
Supporters of the bill, sponsored by West Fargo Republican Rep. Ben Koppelman, say it promotes victims' rights to protect themselves from attackers and violent criminals in public. The legislation is especially popular among gun rights advocates.
Opponents of the legislation argue it opens the door to false claims of self-defense by bad actors who were never in danger of serious harm. Others say similar laws implemented elsewhere have proven to negatively impact people of color.
The House narrowly voted down a "stand-your-ground" bill in 2019, but at least 25 states already have laws that allow the use of deadly force before attempting to retreat, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures .
Lawmakers also voted down a similar proposal on Tuesday after Rep. Jeff Magrum, the bill's sponsor, noted to his colleagues that Koppelman's legislation is "better."