‘Shoot First’ Bill Facing Opposition From MN Police Chiefs

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Minnesota police and prosecutors are stepping up their opposition to a bill in the Legislature that would expand people’s rights to use deadly force to defend themselves.

At the Minnesota Capitol on Thursday, DFL State Sen. John Harrington, who is former police chief of St. Paul, said the bill “will increase danger to the public and increase danger to the police.”

Opponents contend the bill will put police officers at an increased risk of being shot by gun owners who believe their safety is threatened.

The bill allows legal gun owners to use deadly force on their property if they fear their life is in danger.

Police chiefs and prosecutors said cops are at risk because they go on private property chasing bad guys or executing warrants.

“If you wake up-in the middle of the night, and you are startled by some noise in the back of your yard, does that mean you can pull your firearm and possibly engage with a police officer?” asked St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith. “Especially when it’s at night? Especially when you can’t see our badge shining so brightly? These are important questions that need to be answered.”

However, the author of the bill said opponents are engaging in “hysteria and fear-mongering.”

“All these horror stories, what might happen, never materialize,” said Rep. Tony Cornish, (R-Good Thunder), the current police chief in Lake Crystal. “It’s just a scare tactic for some reason. The chiefs are standing alone on this. The line officers aren’t with’em.”

Gov. Mark Dayton, who supports Minnesota’s conceal and carry law, said today the state’s self defense laws are strong enough.

Dayton has not said whether he’d veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

More from Pat Kessler
  • mike

    the police allways shoot first then ask questions !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Police Officer

      No, I don’t.

      • Gun-Tea

        @mike…….I have to agree with Police Officer here…..even pulling a gun these days requires a HUGE amount of Prob cause….

        Let me ask you Mike….are you a conceal and carry holder? Or do you have ANY professional gun training?

        BUT….if your a gang member or dress like a gang member act like a gang member…..THEN you can shoot 1st and ask questions later….

    • Gordon

      @ Mike Quit watching reruns of NYPD Blue, it is not reality

    • filbert

      such laws exist in many states and are only a problem for the bad guys. Remember all the end of civilization scenarios that were predicted before the carry law went into effect? we are still here and the streets didnt turn into the wild west..

      we need protection from civil suits in justifiable shootings.

  • tom

    Pass the bill, the citizens have a right to defend themselves against the criminals. The police only show up to outline the chalk mark and put up the yellow tape. The police are not at risk on private property when they chase felons, nothing has happened yet, The police need to quit their whining. The only ones who need to be afraid are the criminals. A law abiding citizen should have this law to protect them when they have to use deadly force to protect themsleves or family.

    • Lets lie to get our way

      You imply that the police are not doing their jobs by saying they only show up to outline the chalk mark and put up yellow tape. Our police do a great job and I think your “lie” is repulsive in your argument.

    • Police Officer

      I’ve been a police officer for almost 20 years, haven’t shot anybody, hope I never have to. Thank you for lumping all police together in your silly statement that we need to quit whining. We’ve probably never met, so how would you know how I feel?

  • captainobvious

    That guy looks like a thug hardcore. no wonder he doesnt want this to pass if he was in my yard id be frightened

  • tom

    other states have this same bill and the cops have not been in any more danger. the police are just upset that this might lead to some of them being unemployed because they are not needed, which in most cases they are not. they more or less just like to throw their authority in your face.

    • Police Officer

      Interesting statements. How would this lead to some of us being unemployed? Why are we not needed? Why do we have thousands of 9-1-1 calls in MN every day if we’re not needed?

  • tom

    Gee, a DFL’r against a gun bill, what a surprise.

    • Joe

      Gee, a conservative painting DFL’ers with a broad brush? What a surprise. News flash, bud: plenty of libs pack heat and support gun rights, like this one. They’re just discreet about it and don’t feel the need to swagger and advertise to all and sundry how super-patriotic and manly they are. They just exist quietly and mind their own business until threatened.

      • tuna-free dolphin

        Then get control of your DFL buddies, before they take your guns too.

        • For reasonable gun owning

          Perhaps other than the buy back cheap guns from criminals, I have never heard of legislation that would take a reasonable gun out of a person’s hand. If you can tell me why you need an assault rifle in your home with proof it would has saved someones life..

      • Shannon

        Thanks for sticking up for us gun-toting libs Joe ;) There’s no point to carrying a gun if everyone knows you’re doing it.

  • Fight For Your Gun Rights

    It’s NOT A SHOOT FIRST BILL!!! title misleading.

  • Jason

    Police show up after a crime has been commited not before. Maybe police shouldnt make a habit of crashing down the doors of lawful citizens.

    • Police Officer

      I didn’t realize I make a habit of crashing down doors of lawful citizens. What makes you think I do? There are several thousand police officers in MN. What statistics do you have that show we have this habit?

      • Jason

        Dont take my statement personal, I say this in referece to those that would say police exucuting a warrant would be harmed. This could only happen if entrance was made unannounced,or entry was made at an inncorrect address(has happend).

        • Police Officer

          Thanks for clarifying. Any officer executing a warrant unannounced, which you do when you have cause to believe the people inside may be armed as well as some other instances when you need the element of surprise, assumes people inside are armed and acts accordingly. Officer safety is key. It has happened that entry was made at a wrong address–I would like to think that the law-abiding citizen inside with their legal firearm still wouldn’t shoot randomly. As a poster down the line said, it’s all about responsibility and accountability. Law abiding, gun carrying citizens don’t just pick up and start shooting. They have training and common sense. That’s why there hasn’t been too many issues with the current laws…

          • Jason

            You know better than most that your life is in danger when entering any residence. Again, unannouced entry at the wrong address can have devastating effects. How could that be considerd randomly shooting on the homeowner? Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness—–(PROPERTY)

  • tuna-free dolphin

    Tough toenails. Stay away from our guns. It’s none of their business. If they really want to reduce the danger to the community and themselves, why don’t they round up the illegally held firearms. After all they’re the ones who commit the crimes, not the legal owners. Typical liberal tripe. The criminals runs free, while they try to disarm the victims. HEY MR. POLICE CHIEF, START DOING YOUR JOB SO WE DON’T HAVE TO!

    • Been There

      Minnesota already has very good laws regarding defending your self or your loved ones. I’ve been there. Have you? I put two people in intensive care and it was pretty close to the worst night of my life. If they would have died I would have felt much worse even though I was justified in defending myself and my girl. There was plenty of investigation done and the cops didn’t put me in jail because I had no choice, it was them or me. They were actually pretty understanding. I still have guns but I think YOU nutjobs that think you need AK47’s with 30 round clips to “defend” yourself are crazy idiots. Leave the law as it is, it works now just fine. We don’t need a bunch of John Wayne’s out there carrying around 45’s thinking they are going to save the world, just looking for a chance to pull out their piece and kill someone.

  • Pure B.S

    No reasonable person with or without this law is going to shoot someone unless they genuinely feel threatened up close as a last resort. This is so dumb. Enjoy your day on TV chief.

  • Cache

    We need this bill to clarify our basic right the 2nd amendment. Our government is much to eager to prosecute us for defending ourselves…these are the very criminals that have swinging door in and out of prison with just slaps on their wrists by our ignorant arrogant bleeding heart prosecuting attorneys. I will place a minimum of 3 shots per dirtbag…2 to main body mass …chest; 1 cranial ocular shot – between the mustache and eyebrows.

  • john h

    you will see crime go down considerably if they pass this bill, criminals in nature are afraid of others with guns by themselves inless theres a army of them. to chicken otherwise to fight like men.

  • Yelper

    Gun people are similar in craziness to the anti-abortionist types…

    Wackos… but you’ll never be able to convince them that…

    It’s like telling a crack head to stop smoking crack, they just don’t get it.

    • Southern MN Mom

      Yelper’s name fits him well- He is just like a little DFL puppy of no real substance, who barks far left trash all the time thinking if he is heard he will magically become a big dog!

      I have been reading his incoherent rants far too long. Mom says, Yelper, go to your kennel!

    • Bob

      YELPER, didn’t you get a job yet so you can move out of your Moms basement ??? Let’s get this idiot a job so he will shut up…..

  • Dangerous bill

    This bill would be dangerous. As far as a danger to police, I think Sen. Harrington is correct. A few years ago a under cover policeman slammed into me in my backyard. He was in pursuit of somebody and thought he would cut through my yard while other undercover police were chasing from other yards. I did not know who he was or what he was doing. We both landed on the ground. I can see some fool shooting a policeman in that sort of situation.

    • ??

      So gun owners routinely stand in their back yards in the dark with their guns at the ready??

    • Jason

      So you recognized this person as a police officer then? O.K.

  • Mis-named Story

    Two words: motion sensors. Motion sensor lights in the yard will prevent that 100% of the time.

  • TEA's Take

    OK…let’s meet in the middle…..if you have your conceal and carry permit you
    #1- Are NOT a criminal..can’t be to get the permit.
    #2-have taken professional training
    #3- THEN will be treated differently in a court of law if this should happen!

    The bottom line is I see BOTH sides….some waco drunk is going to shoot the mailman or the UPS man because this law will make them THINK they CAN!

    BUT I also feel I SHOULD have the right to SHOOT and KILL someone who breaks into my house! In todays world…..with Tre Tre crips killing and assulting….the AVERAGE AMERICAN should HAVE that right!!!!

  • Don't carry a gun, don't care if you do

    Remember the hysteria when the first conceal and carry law was introduced? All the shootings and crime we were going to have? The gun-toting cowboys taking over the State? Well, where are they? Thousands of people carry responsibly in this state every day and you don’t even realize it. Before creating more misunderstandings, read the entire bill. This law will pass and five years from now, no one will know the difference.

  • Rob

    wrong, wrong, motion sensors, and lights do NOT deter the anti-social sociopathic deviants out there, I speak from experience…………….THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE ONES THAT NEED A BIGGER MESSAGE………..COME AND CONTINUE TO DAMAGE MY PROPERTY, ENTER MY HOUSE…AGAIN AND AGAIN. THE DEPUTIES DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, BUT FILL OUT REPORTS…………………SO MUCH FOR OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT WHERE I LIVE………….WORTHLESS….POLITICAL………..WHO’S WHO, WHO’S NOT……..WAS TOLD THAT BY A SO CALLED OFFICER……………WHERE IS OUR JUSTICE, AND OUR ABILITY TO DEFEND OUR HOME, AND PROPERTY………….IT LIES IN THE PASSAGE OF THIS BILL. In Germany before the war, all the common citizen’s guns were confinscated, then Hitler started his control and carnage………..And the citizens had no way to defend themselves……….

    • GO ROB GO!

      Wow, you must have a big ole target on your house. DOES WRITING EVERYTHING IN CAPS MAKE IT MORE TRUE? So an officer told you that they will investigate or not depending on who you are? You need to call the I-team into that community! By the way, have you read ANY of the current laws in the State regarding conceal and carry and the right to protect yourself in your home? You should, it would make you feel a lot better…

      • Jason

        Has your house been broken into? Has your family car been stolen? The latter put us in the hole 5k. Makes you feel a little vulnerable. Then you start to think about what kind of info about you and your family the thief now has and how it could be used against you. I can and will use deadly force on anyone in my home against my will.

        • Go Rob Go!

          Were you there when your house got broken into? What did you do? What will change with this new law? As the current law stands, if you had been home, you did have the right to defend yourself. I hope that if you are ever unfortunate enough to have to kill someone in your home, you are able to handle the anguish and self-doubt you will feel underneath the bravado that you will have that you protected your stuff. If someone is attacking you or your family, have at it, shoot til your gun is empty. But I could never do it for my car or 5K.

          • Jason

            You didnt answer my question. So have you been broken into?

            • Jason

              Also I wouldnt call it bravado, maybe stopping a bad situation form becoming a horrible one. Its not always enough to just steal from others.Some people are truly evil.

            • Go Rob Go!

              Several years ago, my car was broken into and my wallet and some other personal property taken. It was a hassle. They got caught. They were teenagers. I would not have been able to shoot them over it. My home has never been broken into.

            • Go Rob Go!

              And you didn’t answer my questions either…

              • Jason

                No I wasnt home. My entire car was stolen, and yes if within the law I would have used deadly force. Would I feel remorse, im thinking probably not. Would the p.o.s. steal again providing thier still alive, No

                • Go Rob Go!

                  If you can kill someone for stealing a car, I admire you. I wouldn’t have the “kahonas” to do that. But as for the p.o.s. stealing again, a real hardcore p.o.s. would steal again if still alive, as you said, some people are just evil. The gunshot wound would probably be a badge of honor…

  • Phineas

    There is obviously alot of passion on this topic. I for one would like to be able to defend myself, my own and anyone else who is being harmed in my vicinity. I have a carry permit and am always carrying. I have nothing BUT respect for the law enforcement officers. They put their lives at risk from time to time for our own safety. It intrigues me when I hear insipid comments who think that all cops are bad. Are there bad ones yes. Just like there are bad civilians. That said, the people out there who are anti-cop don’t think about what it would be like when the criminals do run rampant. I am willing to bet Reginald Denny would have liked to have a cop around during the L.A. riots. And as for Yelper’s comment… Yes… There are Wackos out there. But the majority of us are not. We just want a better tomorrow. Saying we are all wackos is like saying that the Anti-Gun lobby are just a bunch of tree hugging whiners who think a fresh positive attitude will keep them safe. It is all about responsibility and accountability.

  • mmm

    This dialogue makes me realize just what is wrong with America. What I’m certain of, is that, in a situation of saving my life, the life of my family, I will choose my life, not the criminal who has done this before but got a minimal sentence because of liberal America’s stance on crime. And at that moment, I will, in no way, be thinking of the “shoot first” bill and whether or not it will save my life or my family’s. Ludicrous to think it will affect someone in a moment of choice like that.

  • Spider Rico

    This is why you don’t need to carry a gun, Cap’n. Paranoid people get itchy trigger fingers.

  • RIII

    The police chiefs would be right at home wearing SS uniforms in NAZI Germany. When they shoot someone for any reason they get a paid vacation (administrative leave). If a common citizen shoots someone in self defense there is a good chance they will spend a fortune for their legal defense.

  • Bob

    The same people including the Police said the permit to carry was terrible and would put them at risk. That has not happened. We need this legislation to protect ourselves from criminals. The police can’t protect you, protect yourself…..

    • police officer

      I agree with you Bob, except that not all police said that…


    The police are always going to be self serving, what is in their best interest, keep the people unarmed and scared. Another part of this bill makes it unlawful to take citizens weapons from them just as was done during hurricane Katrina. The mayor decided that all weapons would be confiscated. We need protection from that.

    • police officer

      As I just said above, not all police want people unarmed and scared, why in the world would we want that??. Sorry if you think we are all self-serving, because I think if you got to know the majority of us, you wouldn’t feel that way…

  • zee the reporter

    police and anywone you come in my house and break it down i will shoot you dead~zee reporting!!!

  • manny

    Citizens deserve the right to defend themselves with the same amount of force as a police officer.

    Some cops are really good people, trying to keep our cities and homes safe. Other cops are just thugs with badges and bad haircuts. Let’s be more careful with our generalizations.

    Police do not always respond in time to prevent crimes.

    Officers, please wear your vests.

    John Harrington, please don’t try to deprive us of the ability to defend ourselves, our families and our homes when you don’t show up in time. It’s easy for you to say the existing laws are good enough when you already have permission to shoot first. Don’t be a d!ck.

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