Gun owners should be able to protect themselves and their loved ones from assault or injury. A new bill, ‘Stand Your Ground’, has been sponsored by Rep. Tim Salazar, R-Dubois and has been advanced in the Wyoming House to do exactly that.
Salazar believes that such measures would allow people to defend themselves or their families without fear. According to the bill, individuals who claim to have claimed to use firearms in self-defense may be initially granted immunity. They may be prosecuted for murder or assault only if a judge has been provided sufficient evidence that they have acted in a manner outside that considered to be self-defense. At that point, a trial would be permitted.
The ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill may empower those in Wyoming to act, rather than retreat from an attacker.
“I don’t want to run. I want to defend the life of my 9-year-old that I love—and that means no retreat,” he said.
It is believed by some that that Wyoming is the only Western state that has a “duty to retreat,” as supported by a 2013 Wyoming Supreme Court decision. However, the ruling is not a blanket statement.
The aspect that is considered an absolute is that an aggressor in a conflict should retreat rather than retaliate when a victim acts against them. However, there is a second application of the concept. A victim is expected to act in a reasonable manner in order to leave the situation prior to acting in self-defense. This is not deemed to be an absolute application.
Wyoming law does not currently require the person to retreat in a reasonable situation before taking action against an assailant. If the ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill passes, the law would be written in such a way as to permit individuals to act first, and not relegate them to consider retreating as a first line of action. A jury may determine that it would have been reasonable to retreat in a particular situation but the victim would not held responsible for not doing so.
The bill has garnered considerable criticism. Those opposing the measure believe that the provisions may not be included in stand your ground laws in other states. Identified provisions under question include automatic immunity of a suspect, and having a prosecutor prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt against a victim before a judge prior to going to trial. Currently, automatic immunity for individuals is not part of any other stand your ground laws, and does not apply to any other crime. Amendments have been proposed, such as removing the immunity clause. As of this time, there have been no such changes to the bill.
Wyoming’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill, or House Bill 168, has passed an introductory vote in the House Judiciary Committee. It will now return to the House and must be approved three more times before going to the Senate.
~ Firearm Daily