Earlier this week I wrote a post about the civilian self-defense and the complex and subjective rules of engagement.
I called out Minnesota’s “Duty to Retreat” demand as an arbitrary requirement that is difficult for people to accurately evaluate during times of stress. Duty to retreat means that the burden is on the victim to escape a dangerous situation if possible. There are two major problems with this clause.
One: it is difficult to discern the most effective and safe route to escape.
Two: there is a philosophical problem with putting an innocent person on the hook for escaping from an aggressor. I think the spirit of duty to retreat is to reduce the number of self-defense situations that occur. But philosophically, if an aggressor wanted to avoid getting beaten, stabbed, or shot … shouldn’t they leave people alone? My sister threw hot coffee into the face of her attacker when she was assaulted for the petty cash in her purse. Under Minnesota’s laws, she may have been found guilty of not retreating to safety. Why does this idea even exist? Why would my sister be held liable when someone came up to her and struck her in the head for the money she earned?
Duty to retreat is a sham and no citizen should be subject to it. It is unnatural and complicates things for a human being already under great duress.
That’s why I urge you to contact your Minnesota state Senator and tell them to support HF1467.
Here’s the message I left for my MN state representative, Senator Chris Gerlach:
Hello, my name is [$yourName]. I live in [$yourTown], and I am a registered voter in your district.
I am contacting you today to urge you to support HF1467. HF1467 contains three provisions that help Minnesota citizens legally defend themselves.
The most important portion of HF1467 is the “stand your ground” clause, which changes the current state law of “duty to retreat.” Duty to retreat puts an unnecessary burden on innocent Minnesotans to escape if possible during a violent encounter. It is unsafe to force this decision on the victim, especially when violent crimes are often swift attacks of opportunity. Citizens may make the wrong decision to flee or fight, and put themselves at further risk.
The proposed “stand your ground” clause in HF1467 still holds citizens to the other legal aspects of self-defense, but removes the subjective aspect of duty to retreat. It is important to note that stand your ground does not trap a citizen into staying in a violent encounter. They still have the option to retreat.
HF1467 contains legislation about increased intra-state reciprocity for legally-issued concealed carry permits and rules about government powers during emergencies. While these clauses are also important, the most important one is replacing duty to retreat with stand your ground.
Please support HF1467. The safety of your constituents depends on you.
Sometimes you may get an answering machine, other times you will get a live person. In my case this morning, I spoke with my senator’s aide, who was already aware of the bill. He did not know the HR bill number, but recalled it being “defense of dwelling” and “stand your ground.” You may need to use these terms to make sure the person on the phone understands what you are talking about.
My state senator was already a supporter of the bill, and was urging other state senators to consider it. However, you may live in a part of the state where your representative does not support the bill.
Please call and email your state senator to support HR1467. It’s important to put the responsibility of self-defense in the hands of law-abiding citizens, and also critical that we make that decision process as simple and consistent as possible.