Minn. Police, Attorneys Oppose Deadly Force Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Key police chiefs and county prosecutors joined together on Thursday to urge Minnesota lawmakers to not pass legislation that would give people more freedom to use deadly force when protecting themselves.

The legislation creates the presumption that a person in their home or other dwelling who uses deadly force does so believing they are in danger of harm or death. The bill also removes the obligation for that person to retreat from such a situation. It’s headed for a full Senate vote soon.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said at a Capitol press conference that the bill shifts the standard to use deadly force from the current “reasonable person” standard to a more subjective one.

“Under this proposal, it would become what is in the person’s mind as to whether they feel threatened,” Backstrom said. “That is the controlling factor. Not what a reasonable person would have done when facing similar circumstances.”

Champlin Police Chief Dave Kolb, representing the Minnesota State Chiefs of Police Association, said the legislation makes it easier to get away with murder.

“If a person on their own property murders another person, this bill creates a very large loophole for their defense,” Kolb said.

Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan said the bill would make serving warrants even more dangerous for officers. He held up a shield officers use when entering homes to illustrate how bullets can pass through it.

“I’ve lost officers at the front door on legal warrants,” Dolan said. “It is one of the most dangerous spots for law enforcement.”

Bill sponsor Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, said officers are already protected from shootings by law. She added that law enforcement reactions conflict with second amendment rights.

“It’s a little over the top that they think they’re the only people that can protect the public,” Hoffman said. “In a free nation, people protect themselves.”

Hoffman said she is confident the legislation will pass in the Senate with bipartisan support.

The House passed a companion bill last year with some language differences from the Senate bill. If passed in the Senate, the House will either concur with the Senate bill’s language and send the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton, or send it to a Conference Committee for reworking and then back to the Senate floor.

Dayton said last week he wasn’t sure if he’d sign or veto the bill, but mentioned that opposition from law enforcement officials would likely influence his decision.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Serpico

    Ask the rank and file police what they think.

    They’re all for it.

    • G Dog

      So you live for those elaborate funerals for cops who have been killed in the line of duty. I don’t know who the hell you talk to, but I have 5 HS classmates who currently police officers, FBI agents or sheriff deputies and they think this is STUPID.

      Cops have TRAINING in the use of deadly force. Joe Gun Boy just like to fire off a few rounds so they can feel like Jesse James.

      • @ G Spot

        Yeah, the conceal carry permits have been such a hazard to cops. You make no sense. People are going to shoot to protect themselves in their house regardless of a law. The law just protects the homeowner from the criminal suing and winning.

        • G Dog

          You are delusional.

          • Common Citizan

            Ar you one of them jack booted government thugs that gets a paid vacation for shooting a common citizan?

      • Frank Lee

        i have training in deadly force ,also…you come on my property to cause harm i’m gonna blow your head off…their arguement is THEY(cops) may get into danger when entering private property…selfish pigs,,,i’ll protect myself thank you

      • 12tang

        You don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you honestly think that everyone who owns a gun has intentions of doing harm? Do you honestly think cops can always make it in time to save the day when seconds count? And do you really think that all gun owners are just Joe Gun Boy’s, as you so put it? I’m a former infantry Marine and I can guarantee you that I have more firearm training than most of your High School buddies who are officers. In fact I can bet you that I have more training and familiarity with weapons that most of the officer’s that protect you and your family. Don’t make assumptions on a subject you know nothing about…

        • Been there done that

          @12tang As a retired police officer who started out a a military police officer, you probably do as far has handling weapons but you MAY not have the shoot no shoot training that an officer does have. Having said that I think this law DOES NOT threaten the average police based on my experience. I never arrived on the scene of a home break in when the suspect was still on site. So as much as cops like to be the hero the saying is true,” when seconds count the police are only minutes away”. As far as serving warrants, as Chief Dolan states The officer already has a shield out so they are already expecting the suspect to be armed therefore the threat was anticipated. The only other scenario is when they execute the warrant on the wrong address well the burden of caution should be on the Department NOT on the Home owner. In short, the department needs to get it right before serving the warrant.

  • Andy

    What a surprise law enforcement opposes this. What are we suppose to do if someone breaks in to do harm to our families, call the police? The problem with that’s is cops get there after the fact, after the damage has been done to your family. I keep my gun where I can get it so I can protect my family. There is no way in hell I’m going to depend on police to save the day. I have every right to use a gun to protect my family, in my home as the police do. I’ll call the cops to come clean up the mess.

    • Rick Jasko

      Thank you for using the second amendment right, by you protecting yourself and your family you keep the community safer as a whole. I know many libs will disagree but it is true. God forbid if you ever have to use deadly force on an attacker the world will be one less attacker.

  • Bob

    THANK YOU Sen. Hoffman for having the guts to help honest people defend hearth and home. Tim Dolan is a moron for opposing this bill.

    • Jenny

      The 2nd amendment is there to allow people to protect themselves from the government.

      The founding fathers knew the score.

      • G Dog


        Read the first 13 words in the 2nd Amendment and then consider the times that it was written.

        • Oink

          I smell backon. I smell pork. Look out pig I got a fork.

        • Jenny

          Do you mean immediately after the revolutionary war when the people took up arms against their government?

          Well duh.

    • Tom

      @ Bob

      How often lets say in the last 5 years have you felt threatened in your own home?

  • BearskinBob

    If I felt my family was being threatened by an intruder this law would have no bearing on the outcome. What the law might do is protect you from some criminal’s family that wanted to make a buck off of suing you.

  • Morons trying to tell us what we can do in our own home

    Who the He!! cares what the “Key law enforcement and county prosecutors” think???!!! How about what the CITIZENS of Minnesota want???!!! We DEMAND the right to take out anybody we feel as an imminent danger within our own home. And to be totally truthful, it doesn’t matter one friggin bit what the law says – come on into my house tonight with intentions of bodily harm to me or my family, and I’ WILL gladly help you become decapitated, period.

  • What a Joke!!!

    It is the same garbage they spewed about the concealed carry laws. “All hell is going to break loose, all cops are at risk, it’s a terrible bill” Look how terrible that law has become; oh wait, it’s been a non-event. Except for the good samaritan that ‘cleaned up’ some trash in Uptown.

    • Ines Beag

      And the guy that killed the armed robber by Cub Foods in south Mpls….that was trying to rob a 80 yr old lady. Then his sister lied about what happen, the family started to scream, looking for a law suit, and then it turns out the sister was involved also.

  • Norge

    Tim Dolan is a political stooge for the uber-liberal left-wing wackos in the Twin Cities. They just don not want people to be ‘independent’ of government….after all the uber-liberal knows everything that is best for us. LOL

    • Stein

      Norge! The cops Union pays straight into the GOP’s bank account. Get your facts straight bro! Cops are just asking that the average citizens follow the same rules they do. But people are right, by passing this legislation nobody is going to shoot any more than they do now. It’s the conceal and carrything all over again. Sky’s Falling!

      Cops libs! That’s a good one Norge!

  • DEEP

    Anyone comes through my door that isn’t invited gets a face full of 31/4 bird shot. “Give me liberty or give me death.” -Patrick Henry

    • Stein

      I’m calling bs on the 3 1/4 inch birdshot! I take it Deep doesn’t really have a gun. Computer Cowboy you are! Hopefully a criminal won’t take you up on your offer. And Deep I’d suggest a MUCH bigger load!

  • BobW

    Not the most exhaustive report; but if it’s accurate I’m afraid Chief Dolan is going to have to face facts: no-knock entry, or any entry where officers have not clearly and unambiguously identified themselves, is a dangerous business that can end with dead cops and Not Guilty: Self Defense verdicts.

    Kick open my door at dark-thirty AM and you’d better be in uniform. Anybody can holler “Police!”, and realistic badges are easy – too easy – to get. It doesn’t do your officer any good that I’m in prison if he’s underground.

    • Dave

      Exactly. The police do have a legitimate concern for safety. However, the intended purpose of this bill, I feel, trumps that concern because it benefits a greater population. Police work is inherently dangerous but so are B&E criminals. Cops know the risk of their work before they sign-up. Now, hopefully, criminals will be presented and mindful of a similar risk… Coming from a liberal.

  • G Dog

    Steal the pink flamingos from my front yard and I’ll blow you away, MoFo!!!!

    Bye bye civilized life!

    • BobW

      Steal the four bins of plastic flamingos that my wife and I used to use as a church fundraiser and I’ll buy the gas for your getaway car. (Though I’d recommend an SUV or a pickup.)

  • Republican Otter

    If the police enter your home uninvited I can say 99% of the time they are there for you.

    • BobW

      So are the Home Invasion types.

      You have to be pretty dumb, or be very fond of iron bars and stone walls, to intentionally shoot a cop. The key word is “intentionally”. I’ve seen too many narcos go out on raids in civvies, with the only ID showing being a badge clipped to their belts back around their trouser seam. In fact, I know of a cop who died in just such a scenario, the bullet hitting his armpit just above his vest.

      The jury returned a verdict of “Not Guilty.”

  • zee the reporter

    The bill permits homeowners to use deadly force while defending a home or dwelling if they feel they are in imminent danger cops better stay away if i don’t invite you!

  • http://crafterjohn.wordpress.com Crafter John

    If the police feel threatened for doing a no warrant no knock entry into a home then they might be in danger.

    Otherwise, I don’t see how this bill would make their jobs anymore dangerous.

    From what I have been able to understand, this bill relieves home owners of being sued if they injure someone that illegally enters their home, ie, is committing a crime.

  • Face

    If law enforcement feels that their warrant procedures are too dangerous then perhaps they should change them.

    Not that I would expect cops to do any critical thinking.

    • Jenny

      They want to be like the cops they see on TV.

      • Real Deal

        C u next Tuesday ….

  • big banjo

    Its not about the cops and their safety….its about THE PEOPLES SAFETY and their ability to act in self defense within the law. Our right to self preservation trumps the cops desire for an easier job.

  • Will

    Another anecdotal knee jerk response justifying Wyatt Earp syndrome mentality by concluding a good end will justify any means.

  • Jason

    Woman interupts burgler ends up getting murderd. But cops and lawyers dont want you to protect yourself unimpeded? Benefits outweigh the costs. Pass this bill.

  • Stephen

    A quote from Thomas Jefferson, “One loves to possess arms, with the hope of never having to use them. Being a Conceal Carry permit holder, I support this bill. I would open Carry my firearm like the CCW laws allows me to, but with all the liberals in this state, I would have the cops called on me. I dont think these cops understand that when I draw my firearm, I have tried by all means to withdraw from the situation and have determined there is no other way to protect myself.

    • Sarah

      I will be graduating with my B.A. in law enforcement this semester and could not agree with you more. We, as students, are taught to…for lack of a better way to explain it, fear anyone with a gun. Even if it is not directed towards us. Most people who carry a gun are not out to use their gun every chance they get. Yet we are taught that if they have a weapon, get ready to pull our gun out asap. People who conceal are getting shot at traffic stops because the officer sees a gun and gets scared that the person being pulled over will kill them. It’s sad where our society stands with law enforcement. We, law enforcement, is supposed to protect and serve, not take away every right that citizens have. it’s getting pretty ridiculous! I hope to make a difference in this field, it’s beyond time for a change!

  • Sarah

    I will be graduating with my B.A in law enforcement this semester and do not hate this bill. This does make for a giant loophole which may allow people to commit murders in their homes and call it self-defense. However, for self-defense to be proven there needs to be evidence of a struggle, a fight, or the other person showing a weapon. Changing or defining the word threatened (or other words that could mean different from person to person), would help a lot. People have the right to protect themselves. That should never be taken away!

    • 12tang

      I don’t see how this will create a giant loophole. There are usually signs of forced entry and it will be apparent. Once there is forced entry, there should be nothing to stop the homeowner or it’s occupants to be able to use deadly force. All it takes is a second for the criminal to get his shot off first…that’s the risk for the homeowner…

      • Sarah

        A lot of times there isn’t. The majority of murders and assaults are done by someone known to the victim, the victim could simply just open the door and let them in. Simply defying the key terms in this bill will solve the problem of that said loophole.

        • 12tang

          You’re right, most cases involve a known person to the victim.

  • 12tang

    Of course the police discourage this bill. If they can’t have all the power and authority, then no one can…I just wish they’d remember we place them in their positions of authority, not themselves…

    • Darth vader


  • Enough already

    I see they finally stopped with the “Joe Blow will shoot the pizza boy” excuse to stop this, how many delivery people burst into your home to make a delivery. But, just because he’s delivering pizza doesn’t mean he’s a good person and pizza delivery might not be his only reason for being there, look at what happened in Montevideo…. Anyway, this law will also protect the victim in their car, yard and garage if needed. This will give you an upper hand with the car jackers, riff raff and abusive ex’s. We don’t have personal police to assist each and every one of us, if we did, the Powell children would still be alive….. If I’m in my garden, this gives me the right to protect myself in my OWN yard, same goes for working in my garage or driving in my car, as it is now, it’s only in your home. Why should the law abiding victim not have any rights? Time to say enough, sign this into law so the riff raff will think twice about their actions.

  • Perry

    People will protect themselves regardless of what the law says.

    This is about the aftermath and can the government punish someone for protecting themselves.

  • Brett

    I am so SICK AND TIRED of seeing county attorneys acting like GOD these days. The PEOPLE have been demanding JUSTICE for many years now, from Dru Sjodin to little kids being shot and killed to this latest “basketball coach”, who only gets 6 months in the county workhouse. RUBBISH. So-called “hate crimes” only work on a one-way street, some people get a pass, while others have to spend their life savings to prove their innocence, and can never get retribution against those who filed FALSE CLAIMS against them.

  • Bob

    It is in the best interest of the police to be the only one armed, that is why the Bill of Rights gives us the Second Amendment. It’s more pertinent today then ever. If the Police are afraid of legally armed citizens then they shouldn’t be cops ??? When the courts hand out no knock warrants they should use extreme care. I remember the story of the police no knocking the Mong family and they fought them out of the house. That entire warrant was based on what a prostitute said during a interview. How stupid can you be…..

  • Bob

    G-dogg what level of education did you complete ???

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