Bill To Expand Gun Laws Passes House Committee

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – A House committee approved a major change in Minnesota’s self-defense laws Thursday.

It’s a bill to expand the use of deadly force if you feel threatened, but some call it a “recipe for disaster.”

If you are for it, you call this law “Stand Your Ground in Self Defense.” If you are against it, it’s called “Shoot First and Ask Questions Later.”

Either way, it’s a monumental change in the state’s gun laws.

Minnesota law formerly allowed you to shoot an intruder only if you are threatened with bodily harm. But this bill, which passed by a 10-7 vote, says any intruder entering your home intends to cause harm, and allows you to shoot first in self-defense.

“Why should they have to wait until somebody picks up their TV in the commission of a felony, or comes  walks across the floor and grabs the woman or child before they take action?” asked Rep. Tony Cornish.

Opponents to the bill, including police groups, say it opens the possibility to more shootings, and killings, of cops. Others call it “decriminalizing murder,” especially in the cases of mistaken identity, drunks, road rage or teenage pranks.

“Do we really want the law to presume that the homeowner should have the right to shoot and kill an unarmed teenager who has entered the garage to steal a bicycle or other personal property?” posed Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

“We don’t think testy neighbors, drunk people or kids playing pranks deserve to die,” argued Heather Martens, the executive director of Citizens for a Safer Minnesota.

The bill’s sponsors said concerns about the bill are overblown. Pointing to unfounded predictions of shooting and killings 10 years ago after Minnesota passed a conceal-and-carry law, the bill approved after one lawmaker’s personal take on a man’s home, and his castle.

“This bill sends a message to criminals and I believe it will act as a deterrent. Don’t break into a house, and you won’t get hurt. It’s a novel idea,” said Rep. John Kriesel.

This particular bill has been up several times in the past, but it never got anywhere while Democrats controlled the Senate and the House. It has a much better chance this year with Republicans running the committees.

More from Pat Kessler
  • Tom

    someone comes in my house in the middle of the night you can bet your ass there going to get shot, no question.about it nobody breaks in your house peaceabley. in the middle of the night.

    • Victim Du Jour

      Dumb Baby Boomers and their lawyer diseases.

      All the grey haired chubby unisex people think we’re suppose to have a vaguely written law for everything. This is an attempt to legalize politically correct murder, and make the ruling class dictate who can get away with murder by claiming victim status.

      In most cases police are good at figuring out if it was self defense with their
      forensic science.

      • Reality Strikes

        VDJ: What planet do you live on/in? Time to put down the hallucinogenic chemicals and realize that if someone is coming through a locked door in the middle of the night, or day for that matter, their intentions are not to calmly introduce themselves and ask for a cup of coffee. If this does happen to you please offer the coffe and let everyone know how that works out……..

        • Victim Du Jour

          Baby Boomers are the drug addicts, and the draft dodgers hid out in lawschools during the Vietnam war because they had rich parents.

          Most cases, the cops are really good at figuring out what happened.

          People will just break a window if they want to murder someone.

      • StraycatStrut

        VDJ,,,, correctly stated….”in most cases”….. not all…. Victim remains a victim in his mind. Peace be with your Bro…. hope they figure out your forensic science when they come to investigate.

        • Victim Du Jour

          How often do Minnesota people shoot an intruder in their homes? I doubt it happens that much.

          • YW

            Then I guess it wont be a big deal to have the law passed.

            • Victim Du Jour

              Someone broke into an old ladies home and a pig attacked him. The criminal was arrested and went on to sue the old lady for his injuries.

              I am guessing this is the same reason for the law?

    • jimmy

      How are you going to shoot someone from the fetal position under your bed?

    • Mike

      It doesn’t matter what nut less gun folk want, we have a Democratic Governor leading this state and with the support of every police department in the state, you might as well be legislating legality to having a cannon hanging out the window or your house, it will rightfully be vetoed. Now go shoot your phallic designed barrels into your targets……

      • Protect OUR Rights!

        support of every police dept in the state?

        did you not do any research on this committee meeting this morning? The Mankato chief of police is in full support of this, and was one of proponents who testified before the legislators today.

        • GunNut?


          Not that it is really worth my time replying to your pathetic comment, but I can’t resist.

          Obviously you have never been to a gun club, or have no clue what law abiding gun enthousists do or who they are. As far as nut less, we will defend ourselves while you are shot by the criminal.

          And I am guessing that even Dayton will figure out that when this bill gets to him if he vetos it he had best update his resume, as I am confident the a majority of the liberals that elected him (exculding you of course) either own guns or are not opposed to the ownership of guns.

          Next time you see a police office ask him about his opions on gun control, his response may surprise you.

    • Crystal

      I hope it’s not your kid sneaking in after curfew then.

  • Jack Webb

    Hope it isn’t your daughter coming home from a date, and you forgot she was out that night….

    • idiocracy

      (attacking your arguement) This bill will not make people all of a sudden jumpy and trigger happy. They already had that right. If a daughter was coming home late and going to get shot, this bill will not magically make that happen because it already would have happened under current laws. While it should definitely be on your mind when you check out your house, it is not a factor when considering this bill.

      More of a general comment- People call ‘gun nuts’ afraid or paranoid. Antigunners are just as afraid, but more for the aftermath of a shooting. Antigunner hypothetical situations are built on top of an already low-chance progunner hypothetical, like some sort of fear-double-negative. “I’d be so afraid of killing someone” Then don’t get a gun, but allow me to have mine because I’m not so afraid of defending my life with any tool necessary. Laying down in the face of evil is not righteous, it’s just a choice; Let me have my choice.

    • URanID10T

      If you forget that, please please come break into my house.

  • Center of Mass

    The “Stand your ground” and “Castle doctrine” portions of the bill affirms that citizens of Minnesota are secure in their homes and in public. Passage would also have the benefit of putting the criminals that live amongst us on notice that it is likely their “victims” are armed and will not tolerate being victimized. Violent crime in the cities and suburbs will decline on passage of this bill.

    • Statistics, please

      You have proof of this?? Texas has had their “make my day” law in force for years. Are residential burglaries down in Texas?

      • Cache

        There is much proof and statistics…read Dr. John Locke and NRA papers…”More guns Less Crime”

        • stace34

          NRA papers because they are not biased. Aren’t they the same organization that said if you are a hunter you need to have access to armor peircing bullets.

          • duane_simons

            stace34: Check any city stats that you like. Those that have very liberal gun laws see crime DECREASE after these laws go into effect. It only makes sense that if you arm the law abiding citizens, the criminals will stay away…….and the nutso’s out there may indeed have second thoughts about carrying out their carnage if they know someone indeed may permanantly stop them prior to their act………

            • jimmy

              You’re drinking the kool aid there are no stats the prove that.

              • GunNut?

                No Jimmy, you are drinking the kool aid.

                When MN approve conceal and carry the crime rate went down, much to the chigrin of the “we’re going to have shoot outs in the street crown” (darn, knew I shouldn’t have bought that horse). There are a lot of stats to prove that, but you can’t find your way off the liberal media sites to find them. Do this, google violent crime rates in any city in america, and then see if you can find if or when they instituded a conceal and carry law. You know where the highest murder rate is??? Washington DC (you don’t see that as it isn’t considered a “city”). You know where the stricktest gun control laws are?

                You want me to provide you with stats, I don’t have the time to waste, as even if I did you would say they are wrong.

                stace34, provide your stats or proof on that. The bill to deny access to “armore peircing bullets” also included stamping every bullet or shotgun shell with a micro enscribed serial number, including reloaders (those of us who load our own shotgun shells to shoot at the gun club) which effectively would drive the price of ammunition out of the average person’s income, and shut down any reloaders.

                Name me one gun law that has increased crime, show me one case where a gun law has decreased crime. Look up any mass shooting in recent history, you will find that the perpitrators were not legally allowed to own the guns they shot, or but the ammunition they shot.

                ALL of us responsible gun owners will defend ourselves, but as in any case we know our target, what is behind our target, and the range of our firearm (if you would take the time to attend a gun safetly class you would know this also)

                If you don’t think there are many people in Minnesota that have defended themselves over the last few years you are sadly mistaken, but you won’t find that on the liberal media sites either.

                If you want to rely on the government or the police to protect you, that is fine with me. Not that I am saying that either is bad, I know a lot of police officers (mostly those that belong to a local gun club) and I would trust them with my life, but neither of them can be anywhere at any time.

      • jimmy

        You don’t really believe that do you?

        • DZ

          Well, it looks like the crime numbers peaked in the 80’s then dropped significantly. When did the gun laws in TX change?

          • jimmy

            No they peaked in 1991 and it had nothing to do with the gun laws of Texas. If you page down you can pull up crime in the entire US and you will find the whole country dropped in 1991-92. I doubt the entire country changed their gun laws. .

        • Dan

          @ Jimmy
          Your stats show that murders and violent crimes have dramatically dropped since Texas has incorporated self defense laws. what’s you point?

          • jimmy

            Dan it does not show that. read above. Regardless of that you can pull up MN. for the same period. You will find in 2009 that Mn. had 1.4 murders per 100,000 people while Texas had 5.4 murders per hundred thousand, or 4 times as many. Please explain with Texas’ great gun laws how could this be. Do you really want to raise the murder rate in Mn. to equal that in Texas?

            • dan


              If you look at the graph it clearly shows that Texas murders and violent crimes have significantly dropped in the past 20 years. Comparing Texas to MN is pretty tough as you have obviously lived in Southern Texas and realized the illegals and gang warfare that we do not have in MN. Mexican drug gangs are a bit more ruthless than the Canadian beer drinkers.

              • What's the big deal!

                It sort of sounds like Jimmy might be a burglar… why else all the fear?

  • Jeff McCuskey

    I’m so glad they are focusing on jobs like they promised. This should really help.

    • Bob

      Jeff, why does everything have to be about you. What have you done for yourself ? Why are you relying on the government to help you ?

      • What's the big deal!

        Couldn’t have put it better myself, Bob.

    • Self Empowerment

      The jobs will come at the gun making factory. Maybe you should open one up yourself.

    • Hey Jeffyboy!

      They are focusing on jobs, they want criminals to work and not steal from others!

  • Mark

    It’s about time there was some common sense to these laws. With the economy in a downward spiral, The bad guys will do anything and there have been numerous situation where strangers have broken into houses and tormented whole families.
    The police can not be everywhere.

  • JimJam

    Why arent Dayton, Franken, Klob and Obama focusing on Jobs? I voted for these rats and they havent helped me one bit. I dont want welfare, I want a job.

    • successNOT

      Then get out and look for 1 p.o.s., im 36 and since i was 15 have not been unemployed how hard is it, yes your going to make less money but take some pride in yourself, the world is a chitty place , we know u want to be paid dollar, who doesn’t sometimes you make sacrifices. im a laborer but i would work at a gas station b4 i would sit home and complain about not having a job

    • Lower Middle Class man

      There was a story today about comcast hiring 450 people!!!!!!

      • Joe

        Yes, there are alot of jobs out there…..$4, 5 and 6 dollars an hour….People wanted “Change” there you have it…..” Go Obama” …..

        • successNOT

          I’d like to know whos paying $4,5,6 dollars an hour, your a clown.

          • Self Empowerment

            @ successNOT – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

            @ Joe – The federal government and State of Minnesota both have minimum wage laws. The federal government raised the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour effective July 24, 2009. It is higher than the state minimum wage and applies to most Minnesota workers. The state law applies to workers who are not covered by the federal law. That includes a $5.25 an hour minimum wage for some small business employees and a short-term $4.90 an hour training wage. Are you looking for a training position in waitressing?

  • Dick Cheney

    Damn right JImJam – it’s the liberals fault!! But wait, big corporations are sitting on huge profits and not hiring. Oh, and one more thing – the article was about a STATE LAW that is being considered – what the heck does Obama have to do with that?

    Get an education – it’s the most recession proof qualification you can have.

  • Chuck

    Just a note for information, from what I understand, this bill would not make much change in rules for using deadly force, just making sure that you can not be sued if you do! Makes sence to me!!!

  • Sam

    Hey. Makes sense to me. A fifteen year old kid breaks into your house on a dare, he deserves to die.
    Why stop there? If someone runs a stop sigh, they’ve potentially risked your life. Let’s make it legal to shoot someone who’s run a stop sign near you.

    Not everyone who breaks into your house intends to do you physical harm. This bill washes away the responsibility to have an appropriate response to the level of threat you are facing.

    • me

      You’re an idoit.

    • Cache

      “Not everyone who breaks into your house intends to do you physical harm”. Really…silly logic… you can read minds…aye????!?!?!?! You live in LA LA land like so many do…you break into my home…..your dead! I can’t read the mind of a thug or druggy and I am not going to. The thug wants what I worked for…NOT! I have no idea what they want – Rape, robbery or murder…I don’t care…your dead. No one will testify and lie against me. Your in illegally…I’ll blow your arse away with a 12 gauge loaded with 00 buckshot magnums…the only warning you will get is the sound of me clicking the safety off. And yes I know who is in my home and who is in front of my weapon at ALL times!

    • Cache

      “Not everyone who breaks into your house intends to do you physical harm”…Get real…You can read the mind of thug who has broken into your house???? What’s he and his friends with him there for a late nite party…silliness!

      • Bob

        Maybe stay out of peoples houses ??? Lets make the criminals responsible for their actions, not society ?

        • Mark

          It is not the victims responsibility to assess the correct level of response. Yes, you should verify it isn’t your family member. Beyond that law enforcement have to announce themselves, anyone else is entering and may be armed and may intend to kill me. If I do not assume they might, then if they do, I have surrendered my opportunity to save myself. If a 15 year old wants to break in on a dare, I’m not sure how his safety is my responsibility. He has violated my home and in doing so threatened me and my family.

    • Lower Middle Class man


      You are always free to just lay there and get you _ss kicked if you want – Go eat some more Tofu and Hug another tree!!!

    • Theresa

      You break into my house on a dare and I’m suppose to give you the benefit of the doubt? How am I to know why you are there? Do we stop and have some cit chat? NOT! MY HOUSE!!MY RULES!!

    • Mark

      There is a huge difference between 1st degree burglary (felony) and a stop sign violation (petty misdemeanor). Get a clue Sam. Bottom line is that they should not break into your house. Anyone breaking into a house does not have good intentions.

      • Pete

        It could be argued that someone who would run a stop also does not have good intentions (why would they risk someone else’s safety to save their precious time) and have intentions that could be just as dangerous and devastating. If I had a bazooka for every time I have had a close call with a “sign runner” and a law to protect my use of it the roads would be a safer place. The same with our homes.

  • Independent Spirit

    Sam…….I have had entry into my home, and damage done while away………..nothing like having someone come into your home while you are away,………..imagine, u sleeping at night, and someone is standing over you in your bed? Where is the responsibility, and where does it lie? Would you have an appropriate response?

    IF someone is in your house……..without permission……….IT IS MY responsibility, and my response to defend myself.

    You are living in a naive bubble my friend.

    Independent Spirit.

  • Murph

    Guns are overrated as protection.The real danger is in having one toyed with by kids,drunks and the owners themselves.Here in bear country the poor dumb critters usually run away or give you fair warning or they just back off if you hold your ground. Of bears or bulls,pick the bear as the one LEAST likely to hurt you.Criminals are a problem sure enough.But the odds favor not having a gun,as the unarmed intruder may use your gun on you,if one is available.Such as a burglar finds it and then you come home unexpectedly! It’s not an easy decision,especially with handguns.Think it thru and be sure it’s what you want around the house!

    • Lower Middle Class man

      Is is a easy decision – My decision – You do what you want and I’ll do what I want. And by the way a burgler is not likely to find my Gun!!!

    • murphy needs help

      I would think a burglar would not want to intrude in a house with a gun and a possible drunk homeowner. Wait…..Is that a burglar?

  • Flachlander

    Gee whiz! Thanks for giving me the proprietary nod to defend myself from harm! Guess what, politicians? If someone breaks into my house at any time–day or night–I’m going to use the old double-tap:one shot at center of mass, and a second to make sure. I won’t hesitate more than a split-second. I have three Labradors, but there are crazies out there on drugs that even they don’t faze.

  • Breakout Bob

    I can already have a gun in my house. To shoot someone currently, I basically need to have watched them rape my wife and killed her, then turn the weapon on me. Otherwise the criminal, or in my case the criminal’s surviving family can sue me because I could’ve broken out of my house to prevent me from being injured. I own my house, I own my yard, I pay taxes to the government to protect this for me. When they cannot respond in time, should I need to “break out” of my house so I do not lose my property or life, or risk being sued because I have glass in my house? If you don’t want to own a gun that’s fine by me, but when a criminal wants to harm you, make sure you have a crowbar to break out!

    • What's the big deal!

      Breakout Bob makes a good point. Those of you who oppose deadly force, would you honestly stand by and wait for the police to get there while an intruder hurts one of your family members? I’m just curious…what would you all do? Seriously, I’ve always wondered…

  • Help

    Gun owners are drunks….

    Enough said!

    • Joe

      You do need “HELP” with a statement like that.

    • Cache

      You mean every cop, FBI, ATF, soldier, DEA, Border Patrol,etc, etc, This kind of ignorance hurts my head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Helpe

        yawn… putting words in people’s mouths huh…

        It’s easy for ignorant people like you to be overwhelmed by the truth…

        • idiocracy

          ‘Gun owners are drunks’ isn’t even a good stereotype, how is it even close to the truth?

          I’m so overwhelmed by your truthiness… Darn, I must be ignorant. But, it’s ok, I still have my guns and beers.

    • Lower Middle Class man


      You need help. I hope for you sake someone with a gun is around some day if you really need help!!!

  • Dirty Harry

    (Help) I’m sure the police, C.I.A., F.B.I., and Secret Service would appreciate that remarkably stupid comment.

  • freemindthinker

    there was a case in mn, the kid enters the family home and killed mom and dad and son…now if this law apply then, it would have save this family….i will support this law…..late at nite, if some1 breaks in, i bet 30 round of ar15 will be empty out…lol….

    • jimmy

      “there was a case in mn, the kid enters the family home and killed mom and dad and son”

      If I remember right it was dads gun that was used.

    • idiocracy

      Minnesota already has a ‘castle doctrine’ which fullly alllows you to defend yourself inside your home. This bill would not have prevented the act you speak of. But, this billl will give you immunity from a criminal’s family trying to sue you for using deadly force.

  • Bob

    We need this bill as protection from criminals that break the law and sue innocent homeowners who have protected themselves and their families. You can always count on some ignorant people who take everything to an extreme. The same people said that people would be dying in the streets when the permit to carry was passed. If you are counting on the Police to protect you, good luck with that.

    • captainobvious

      Very excellent point Bob, people were crying about the permit to carry thinking we’d have shootouts daily, I cant remember 1 story yet in years. Think aobut that people this is another bill to protect decent people, if you feel like this bill could harm you, then you’re not a decent person.

  • Shelleyjol

    We’re following this issue on Northeast Minneapolis Crime Watch & Information (Facebook page). This bill is long overdue and I support its passage.

  • swerver

    How on earth can any1 have a problem with this bill, if your breaking in homes your a waste of life, i dont care if its a lifetime criminal or a 1st time, they’re all useless

  • Marjorie

    These are the same group of dopes who criticize law enforcement for using deadly force in the line of duty to protect themselves and citizens from being killed by gun toting criminals.

  • Burb Lover Chris

    I carry a gun, because cops are too heavy.

    I will defend myself.

    You can be a victim in your own home if you’d like.

  • Anthony

    I do agree with this law but can understand some people that are against it. I’m not quite sure how this law is worded, but I think they are worried that people will let people they want to kill into their houses and then shoot them, and say it was “self defence” and that they “broke in.” /shrug just something to think about.

  • notagunowner

    This bill makes me feel like I need to get a gun now to protect myself so I’m not a victim in my own home. Can the law also give me a discount on a gun, because right now I don’t have the money for one, but I really feel I need it for protection.

  • Todd

    Mn is already prettty sensible about home self defense. A few years ago a guy was jimmying the window outside and the guy shot him. He went before a grand jury and they let him go. I think the law is OK as is. As for carrying guns in public? What you will have is a bunch of idiots out on the street carrying guns. Cops hate that the law was changed to have a bunch of gun slingers running around. You will have people shooting at purse snatchers (and I don’t condone purse snatching Repubs) and hitting innocent people and they won’t be punished because they were trying to hit the “bad guy”. Home defense: OK. Runing around with guns: Crazy.

    • dan

      Todd, I think you would be surprised how many people have a conceal and carry license. They walk around you everyday and are trained to only use as a last resort. The gunslingers you hear on the news are not the conceal and carry folks. Those are the gang bangers that will always be there regardless of the laws.
      When is the last time you heard about a conceal and carry licensee open fire or be involved in a drive by shooting?

      • Mike

        Are your really that ignorant Dan? If a carry and conceal permitted gun owner was out committing crimes with their gun, would someone know if was involved with a drive by shooting if they were not caught?
        Bernie Madoff was a nice guy and nobody imagined he would do what he did ether.

        • dan

          The first thing our local news agencies would spout is the fact that a legal citizen carried out a horrific crime. Drive Bys are gang bangers. Bernie Madoff comparison? Everyone thought Obama was a great leader until he actuall found himself way over his head in office.

  • Lower Middle Class man

    This Bill passed today 10-7. st step cleared more to come.

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