'Stand Your Ground' OK Even If Safe Escape Possible

Mar 2, 2017

 

Utah House of Representatives
Credit utahpubliceducation.org

Utah’s House of Representatives has approved changes to the state’s stand-your-ground self-defense law making it clear that people don’t need to try to run away before using force, including deadly force, against someone.

Republican Rep. Cory Maloy's proposal says a person doesn't need to back away before using force even if they have a safe way to escape. If someone is prosecuted for using force, Maloy's bill won't allow a court to hear evidence about whether the person tried to flee first.

At least 22 states have stand-your-ground laws. They've have been scrutinized after high-profile shooting deaths like that of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Democrats voting against Utah's bill say they worry about any extra leeway for someone to use force against a perceived threat, citing the racial biases that minorities can face in communities.