Feb. 22, 2006 – As some states consider expanding the right to use deadly force in self-defense, a group of gun-control advocates yesterday asked Michigan lawmakers to defeat a bill that would eliminate peopleâ€™s legal "duty" to avoid a threat to oneself by walking away or seeking refuge. Instead, people would be allowed to use lethal force against anyone they can later demonstrate they believed was threatening their life.
Yesterdayâ€™s hearings on state senate Judiciary Committee, which heard testimony on SB 1046, came less than a week after a stray bullet from a gun fight killed an 8-year-old boy in Detroit.
According to information provided by the National Rifle Association, the proposed law in Michigan is similar to one already enacted in Florida last year. Lawmakers in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma and South Dakota are considering similar bills. Such laws are often referred to as "shoot first" or "shoot-to-kill" by gun-control groups, and as "stand-your-ground" or "castle doctrine" by proponents.
The bills generally shield gun owners who shoot trespassers by writing into law the assumption that anyone breaking into a residence means bodily harm to the occupants. The bills also allow people to match "force with force" anywhere in public places, granting gun owners the right to shoot anyone they believe threatens their life or someone elseâ€™s life.
"These bills immediately deputize anyone with a weapon to take on a criminal in potentially crowded public settings," the gun-control advocate Brady Campaign said. "Itâ€™s extraordinarily ill-advised and irresponsible."