Idaho Strengthens Stand Your Ground Protections


Idaho’s SB 1313 became law last week without the signature of Governor Butch Otter. The new law will take effect on July 1. The law strengthens the state’s current “stand your ground” protections, consistent with similar laws in most other states.

SB 1313 made relatively minor adjustments in the current laws covering self defense in the Gem State. The law had already made homicide justifiable when done to prevent a felony or while entering a habitation by violence or surprise. It now adds places of business and conveyances to the list of places where the law’s protections apply.

The law also clarifies that a person who is attacked need not retreat before defending himself. As with nearly all states, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove that a claimed use of force in self defense was not self defense. That’s consistent with the principle that we are considered innocent until proven guilty.

The new law is part of a trend of states reinforcing the concept that citizens have the right to defend themselves from attack using deadly force, if necessary, wherever they may legitimately be.

Wyoming passed a similar law earlier this month. That brings the total to 27 states with some form of stand-your-ground protection. Seven more states follow stand-your-ground in practice, although they don’t have a specific law in place. Three states limit stand-your-ground to a person’s vehicle as the only place the law applies outside the home.

And yes, there are still  10 states with a duty-to-retreat requirement in their self defense law (no points for guessing which ones).

Unsurprisingly, justifiable homicides were found to increase in states with “stand your ground” laws, while overall homicide rates dropped.

From John Lott:

My research looked at all states that have enacted Stand Your Ground between 1977 and 2012, either through legislation or through court decisions. I consistently found subsequent drops in murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault rates. On average, murder rates fell by about 1.5 percent annually during the first 10 years that the law was in effect.

These are exactly the results you’d expect when the principle of legitimate armed self defense is protected. When you reform laws to decrease the chance of self-defenders being victimized by prosecutors, fewer people will plead out in legitimate self-defense cases. Those cases then turn up in the statistics as more justified homicides.

More criminals will then find homicide a risky proposition, lowering the overall homicide rate.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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