KC lawmaker wants to change ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. --- Missouri State Representative Randy Dunn, (D) 23rd District, wants to make it harder for those who kill another person to use the Stand Your Ground defense to be acquitted of homicide charges. In House Bill 1940, Rep. Dunn proposes three things: anyone faced with a threat must first attempt to retreat; it prohibits people from having automatic immunity if they claim Stand Your Ground; and it requires the defendant to prove they had no other option than to use deadly force.

“I think as a state, we should be encouraging people to find peaceful resolutions rather than going to violence,” Rep. Dunn said.

Dunn said the courts have struggled to apply the Stand Your Ground law because the defendant must prove there was an imminent threat. But what is an imminent threat?

“There’s a lot of unclarity with those laws,” Rep. Dunn said. “That really opens the gate for a lot of interpretation as to exactly what does that threat mean, and it often leaves people to shoot first and ask questions later. In addition to that, they cause a lot of confusion for the courts, for the jurors and even the judges when adjudicating these types of cases.”

Rep. Dunn points to the results of a 2013 study conducted by Texas A&M in collaboration with the Urban Institute’s Policy Center and PBS. Researchers analyzed more than 43,500 homicide cases by race in states with Stand Your Ground laws versus those without them. The study discovered that whites who killed people of color and then used the Stand Your Ground defense were 350 percent more likely to be found justified in the use of deadly force.

Rep. Dunn says race was not a factor in his decision to file this bill though he believes it should be talked about in the Stand Your Ground conversation. More than anything, he wants people to avoid violence if possible.

“If there is any way to remove yourself from that situation without having to bring harm to that person and your life is, in that instant, not in imminent threat, I think you should try to retreat,” Rep. Dunn said. “If that person continues to try to come after you, you have every right to defend yourself and your home.”

Rep. Dunn said as a child, a burglar broke into his family’s home but left when his parents confronted him. Even though it traumatized him, he believes most people who break into homes are not looking to hurt the residents inside. And he doesn’t want to see anyone die unnecessarily.

“I firmly believe in a person’s right to be able to defend themselves, defend their home and defend their family,” Rep. Dunn said, “but if there’s a way to get out of that situation without having to lead to violence, that’s what I would rather see happen.”

HB 1940 is currently awaiting assignment to committee, where it will be discussed before possibly being sent back to the House for debate.

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22 comments

  • Ronald

    The article reads:

    “Rep. Dunn points to the results of a 2013 study conducted by Texas A&M in collaboration with the Urban Institute’s Policy Center and PBS. Researchers analyzed more than 43,500 homicide cases by race in states with Stand Your Ground laws versus those without them. The study discovered that whites who killed people of color and then used the Stand Your Ground defense were 350 percent more likely to be found justified in the use of deadly force.

    Rep. Dunn says race was not a factor in his decision to file this bill though he believes it should be talked about in the Stand Your Ground conversation. More than anything, he wants people to avoid violence if possible.”

    For this guy to cite percentages and races and then turn around and say that race is not a factor, well they have a name for that. This guy appears to suffer from a thing called cognitive dissonance, a psychological state of conflict that occurs when a person’s behavior contradicts their thoughts or beliefs. Mr. Dunn, you might want to consider getting a check-up from the neck up.

    On another note, an old trick that I use to “avoid violence” is to not break into the homes of others.

  • jqp

    So if I’m in my home, or out in public, and I am confronted by someone who wants commit a crime against me or my family (assault, robbery, murder, whatever), Rep Dunn believes I have a duty to retreat from that situation? Isn’t that giving more rights to the person committing a crime? Why should I have to retreat if confronted? I’m not doing anything wrong in that situation, the perpetrator is. Perhaps he thinks I should just call 911 and wait 10 minutes – if I’m lucky – for local law enforecement to arrive.

    The logic of some people absolutely astounds me.

  • Craig

    No doubt the pride and joy of the 23rd district. Randy, go take your lollipop and go stand in the corner of La La Land. If I’m in my home and you bust through my door, my walls will need a sponge and a bucket of Pine-Sol.

  • WhySoSerious

    I just spit out my coffee after reading and listening to this yahoo! Who is starting a petition for a recall vote, easily the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard a elected official come up with. If you don’t want your voters being shot tell them to stop breaking into houses and or robbing people in public. When will democrats stop protecting criminals and start protecting legal citizens: answer never, because they would lose to many votes! Unreal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lol yeahno

    So when you get held up by a group of tribesman you are required by law to run away. You will probably get shot in the back because you saw their face’s without them taking your drivers license and threatening to come kill you and your family. But hey at least this guys voter is unharmed.

  • Christy Seiz

    As home owners defending our homes is not going to violence. The criminals chose violence when they choose to threaten our lives and homes. He should try to find a way for them to choose a more peacful solution to their problems instead of trying to take our right to defend ourselves away.

  • APC

    Missouri is not a “Stand Your Ground” state. Missouri is a Castle Doctrine state and the Castle Doctrine is what this bill is written to repeal.

    The Castle Doctrine means that if an intruder is actively breaking into your home or vehicle while you are inside it you are protected from prosecution if you choose to defend yourself with lethal force. If someone is smashing through your window or breaking down your door, you shoot them. If someone is trying to carjack you, you shoot them. You do not have to wait and see if this person intends to kill you, and you are not required to attempt to flee first. You don’t have to run around, gather up any family, abandon your home and hope you can make it to an exit before the intruder can rape and/or kill you and yours. Likewise you are not required to first unbuckle your seatbelt, kindly ask the carjacker to step aside, and run away. No… you just shoot them. And under Castle Doctrine, you are not guilty of a crime if you do so.

    Rep. Dunn wants to take this protection away. Looks like we have a state rep that desperately needs to be fired.

  • Mary

    ‘Sir, I see you just broke into my house and you are kind of looking agitated… But i don’t see an imminent threat because you haven’t raped me yet. I will retreat and let you go about your business. Oh by the way I have 4 kids, let me go wake the baby up and get the children from their rooms, don’t worry I lost my right to stand my ground so please don’t hurt us while we retreat.’

  • Lew Weingarth

    Stand your ground is a dream come true for psychopaths like Zimmerman in Florida. They can LEGALLY stalk and kill for pleasure as long as:

    1. There are no witnesses
    2. They stick to their story of being afraid
    3. They are white, or at least whiter than the person they kill

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