Reality Check: Can ‘Justified’ Shootings Increase Violence?

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton hasn’t said whether he will sign or veto a controversial bill expanding the rights of gun owners to shoot in self-defense.

Critics said the so-called “Castle Doctrine” law will cause more violence, but we found that cannot be accurately predicted. There is no national database tracking the effect of Castle Doctrine laws on crime rates or shootings.

There are only ancedotal stories of “justified” shootings.

But the FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics show that nationally those “justified” shootings are up, from 238 in 2006 to 278 in 2010.

In Minnesota, critics are predicting more violence if Gov. Dayton signs into law what supporters call the “Personal Protection Act,” and opponents label the “Shoot First” bill.

Many also predicted more violence when Minnesota legalized concealed weapon permits, and they were wrong. Minnesota did not turn into the “Wild West,” but it’s also not accurate to say nothing happened.

The Department of Public Safety reports 91,221 Minnesotans now have permits for concealed weapons.

In 2010, 1159 were charged with disqualifying crimes, including: Traffic offenses (277), DWI (186), domestic assault (110) and carrying under the influence (66).

Minnesota actually already has a law making it permissible to use deadly force to defend yourself.

Last year, a Good Samaritan was never charged after chasing down a purse snatcher and killing him.

In 2006, a 73-year-old man wasn’t charged with shooting and killing a teenager who broke into his house. Here is what you need to know:

The new law will give Minnesotans who shoot on the presumption of self-defense. Carving out new protections against arrest and conviction for a killing that’s “justified.”

That’s a reality check. Here are the sources used for this reality check:

Senate File 1357
States with Castle Doctrine laws
MN DPS Concealed Carry Report
FBI Uniform Crime Report 2010
MN Gun Permit Requirements
Coon Rapids Man Kills Home Invader
Man Who Shot Mpls Robber Won’t Be Charged

More from Pat Kessler
  • Sonjay

    Okay how do you exactly “chase someone down” within a vehicle? How about an ATTEMPT at facts when doing this funny thing called “reporting”. He SAW the crime occur then he drove around to where he saw the CRIMINAL go and after he demanded the purse be returned the genius pointed his gun at the guy, which is the #1 thing you DON’T do just for the hell of it. So he paid the ultimate price so that he could try to steal a few bucks.

  • angus

    I remember the gun nuts saying that making it easy to get a permit to carry would not cause problems because you had to get a background clearance check. So, how come all these bad guys have guns and where are they getting them if the law is so tight? I doubt all the illegal weapons are from burglary or theft. No one seens to be able to answer that question.

    Also, if you kill someone and it doesn’t bother you then I have some strong reservations about your mental stability

    • My 2 Cents

      Bad Guys Wth Guns?? Ask your president and Mr. Holder to “Tell the truth, The whole truth and Nothing but the truth” .

      Would it bother me to take a life…YES. But I wouldn’t think twice about it if it saved the life of one of my family members.

      • solarhoilday


    • Taxpayer

      Does angus have a level 3 in the neighborhood…probably not. Would angus shoot a level 3 offender and be ‘bothered’ by it. probably not. Would he consider his mental stability afterward…probably not!!

      • Matt

        Obama and Holder aided and abetted murder with Fast and Furious. Now they are covering up their crimes. Who are the real criminals?

        • just a peasant

          They also put gas prices at almost $5/gal. and do nothing about the real criminals at these big banks. AHH….welcome to the “change”.

          • Say BS

            Almost $5 a gallon gas? Perhaps you exagerate a bit. $3.45 is a long wy from $5.

  • Jason

    I do in fact recall in my ccw class Mn does in fact require A DUTY TO RETREAT. I take that to mean run and hide in your home while at the mercy of an unlawful intruder.

    • My 2 Cents

      That won’t be happening in my home.

      • Two in the chest, one in the head

        Mine either…

        • just a peasant

          Nor mine either.

    • David J. Conklin

      My neighbor let his brother-in-law stay over for a couple of days. One night the while the family was in bed he came home, unlocked the door and very quietly stepped inside. He turned around and the family’s golden lab pinned him to the door. The mister who had biceps twice the size of just about anyone came out and tried to get the dog off–no good. Mommy had to come out tell the dig it was okay. No need to kill anyone if you know how to raise a dog. but, then for some it is easier to pull a trigger than to train a dumb animal who can out-think them.

  • My 2 Cents

    Hmmm, 1159 disqualified of 91,221. Unless my math is wrong, that’s only 1.2%. So, the numbers DO show those who Conceal/Carry are obeying the laws and NOT committing crimes. TELL US THAT in this article.

  • pete

    This bill is not about taking a life,it’s about protecting your life from criminals.I hope an employee for a gas company does not gets shot for reading a meter and the gunslinging home owner says,” oops.”

    • Brett

      Well, a few years ago, a co-worker was robbed by a gang-banger on a bicycle. The worker handed over the $40 he had in his pocket, but the gang-banger said, “not enough”, so the gang banger shot him in the neck. Fortunately, the utility worker didn’t die, but he never worked another day, because he became so disabled, and retired a year or so after the attack. The THUG was never caught. I think that utility workers should be REQUIRED to carry a pistol, IF they meet all of the requirements of carrying such a weapon, and the company that they work for should be IMMUNE from LIABILITY if something “goes wrong”.

      • Frank

        If thugs know that you’re carrying a gun, they just shoot you first then take your money…and your gun. We need tougher laws such as you use a gun for a crime, you don’t get to live freely in society anymore. Instead you get to live the rest of your life in a contained area with other cons growing and cooking your own food, repairing and cleaning your living quarters, and being used as inexpensive labor (within the confines of the prison) to pay for the basics they need to live. If they earn more, then they can buy televisions, cable, etc. Eventually thugs will get the message or at least dwindle down to a manageable number.

      • just a peasant

        Ahh, your a meter-reader. Nice job kid, now go get a real job and make something of yourself.

  • Smithers

    Gun crazies will always distort the facts the support their point. The truth is gun people are crazy!


      no…your crazY smithers…you want mus all dis-armed so only criminals and law enforcement are have guns?…THATS CRAZY!!!!!

  • Sheriff Bob

    Here are some points to help you come to grips.

    If you poke a dog with a stick enough times, it will try to bite you. It doesn’t need a law passed giving it that right. Human beings will also defend themselves with or without the law. It’s in our nature.

    The law is about what happens AFTERWARDS. This stops gun hating liberal prosecutors from trying to destroy people who were only defending themselves.

    By the way, statistically, permit holders are more law abiding that the police. The police break more laws than permit holders.

    A police officer is three times more likely to shoot himself than to be shot.


    • WillIAm

      Please name one recent iinstance where someone was prosecuted for defending themselves in a situation other than a gang shoot out.

  • Mikelab

    Sheriff bob is an idiot. Do you just make up stupid facts on the spot. Where are all these stories about cops shooting themselves.

    • Sheriff Bob

      I’m not an idiot, I’m afraid you are.

      You obviously haven’t heard of, or know how to use, Google.

      Are you afraid of the big bad scary gun? Here’s what Freud had to say about people like you:


      • WillIAm

        But you still did not answer the question posed to you. Deflection is not an answer.

        • Jenny

          I would be happy to do your Googling for you. However, you are going to have to pay me in advance.

          • wWillIAm

            Sherif Bob made the unsubstantiated claim. It is on him to prove it. Not you. Bob referenced a quote by Freud to describe Mikelab, thereby not answering the question. There are no statistics easily available on google. The statistics for the UK are not even close to what Bob posted. Bob is making stuff up. Your post is frivolous as best as I googled before posting.

  • roger

    dosnt matter to me i shoot first any way

  • roger

    mikelab is a liberal

  • Sheriff Bob

    mikelab is a woman.

  • Shoot first ask questions later

    I hope Dayton Signs the bill. Bottom line if someone is intruding on your domain, the burden of proof should be on the intruder not the law abiding person. Fact is with 91,000 conceal carry permit holders nothing the gun haters predicted has happened. Sorry to say Minneapolis is still NOT part of the Wild West !!!!

  • jeff

    mikelab is a women and a bit%*. Sheriff Bob is right on many grounds, the police commit way more crime than people think. Do you trust a cop with less than a 2 yr wannabe degree???? I sure as heck don’t. And I’m just like Robert, I also will shoot first and not even ask any questions. Come thru my door and see what a 357 will do to you. As stated by Sheriff Bob, these police are so corrupt that we are all in danger. Where do you think most of the DRUG, GUNS and MONEY disappear to after them thieves take them items? Get a clue clue mikelab and all the other folks that like to cry about guns. Seems that the police like shooting kids too, or can’t you read the headlines lately. and just wait until some one attacks you on a camping trip…..oh I’ll call 911, oops, no service. I rest my case.

    • Blog Ref

      Thanks for your two cents, Andy. Even when you’re posting under a different name, your idiocy is obvious.

      • Andy

        It actually wasn’t me.

  • jeff

    Is it mikelab or methlab. The way he cries, I would it’s methlab.

  • Brett

    PAT, get REAL. Few here are buying your so-called “unbiased” *B*S*.

    • WillIAm

      If the CCO reporting is not to you liking feel entirely free to go away. Although by reading your posts, you are an expert on “unbiased” *B*S*. Unquestionably you put out more *B*S* than almost anyone else except Murph. Murph is just a little strange

    • just a peasant

      Hey pole climber or meter-reader, you are a sad excuse for flesh, bet your parents are proud of you. Come read my meter.

  • Dave

    Pat, you say that “there is no national database tracking … There are only ‘anecdotal’ stories of ‘justified’ shootings’.” That seems to be be a dismissive term, but you then cited two stories of killings where the shooter was not charged. Aren’t those also “anecdotal”, but true? How hard would it be to find the amount of violence by handguns in each of the states that have the castle doctrine laws, both before and after passage?

    P.S. I am a gun owner, not a gun “nut”, and no one is a “nut” for either opposing or supporting this bill. I want more information before deciding where I stand.

    • wWillIAm

      It might be hard because you would have to first dig quite a bit to find a shooting and then dig into police records with the information act to find out the results. That would take a lot of effort


    Read an issue of the American Rifleman. In the front few pages there is one page dedicated to stories of people defending themselves in there homes.This is just a small sampling of people defending themselves from the waste of society every month. This is a good bill and it should be signed as soon as gov. Dayton receives it on his desk.
    It’s time to put the criminals on the defence knowing that if there going into a home to commit a crime they may be coming out toes first.No more baby sitting the poor misunderstood criminals.

    • Debbie

      Yes I agree Kevin

      The reason schools, places of businesses, churches and any other place that bans guns are VERY UNSAFE because criminals will go completely unopposed.
      Laws should be tougher on gun crimes, death penalty would keep the repeat offenders and make others think twice. Only legal law abiding citizens suffer with the liberal gun control laws.

    • Dave

      You are missing the point of my comment, which is asking what is the the opposite of “anecdotal” evidence, and what does it take to convince people that the stories told shouldn’t be dismissed, which Pat and others do when they use the word anecdotal. The accepted Webster dictionary definition says an anecdote is “a short narrative concerning an interesting incident or event.” I am a long-time member of the NRA; I read every page of every issue and I feel that the “Armed Citizen” stories are true rather than interesting and should be accepted as such. You and I are not on opposite sides of this issue; I only seek rational reasons, not emotional feelings, and I am not “babysitting criminals.”

  • angry Minnesotan

    Average police response time is 15 minutes, average .357 hollow tip response time is 1500 feet per second. Which one will get there first to save your life? This bill will change nothing, except protect the home owner that shoots a criminal. Reasonable people which is the vast majority will handle almost all situations reasonably, unreasonable people will handle almost all situations unreasonably.

  • Pot Kettler

    A drunk conceal-carry permit holder killed the bouncer at Nye’s because he wouldn’t let him in. That’s reality check.

    • angry Minnesotan

      You need to check your facts. He was thrown out, he went home and got his gun, and then returned. He was caught, tried and convicted. He broke the law. This change in Minnesota law has NOTHING to do with your example of what? This will allow a person to stay in their house and defend their property and FAMILY without being required to run away or hide from the CRIMINAL. Using your example, the bouncer is responsible for being shot because he did not run away from his job, protecting the bar from rowdy drunks.

  • Armed Biker Revolt

    As a bicyclist, this law finally allows me to shoot drivers who mess with me, er, threaten my life. Thank you Republicans.

  • Mikelab

    Once again Sheriff Bob. You are an idiot. I was referencing your support of this possible change to current Minnesota law. I was referencing your asinine comments about the police. If someone comes in my house and is threatening my safety, they will be dead sure as the day is long. Current Minnesota law assures that I am safe from prosecution in this action. What the changes to the law will do, means I can kill the little turds that smashed my pumpkins last Holloween. That is kind of stupid don’t you think. Your references to police officers has no real bassis in fact. My father was a police officer for 40 years. When ever there was severe storms in the area, you were probably cowering in your basement. My father on the other hand was putting on his uniform and going to work. He is a brave honest hardworking man, and yes, if you messed with his family, he would surely put a bullet in your head. Try to make your points about the law changes without dissing an entire profession that you obviously know nothing about.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Only in America is it a crime to defend yourself against criminals. Criminals get all the laws to protect them and the law-abiding citizens gets a casket.

    • just a peasant

      Only if we are lucky to be able afford a casket nowadays. Sad state.

  • just a peasant

    I just came to this post to read the blogs, they are kinda funny. How so many people get so worked up about a story. But anyhow, some very good pionts here and there, and some really dumb ones. But the fact remains, two cops in my family and yep, they tell me of many stories that the police are very good thieves and how the drugs get into the jails-just sayin. Tougher laws need to be in place for the police and yes, they need MUCH more education before they carry guns-it would help us normal folks out. Press that police should take weekly drug tests, bet things would change for the better. Again, just saying.


    pot kettler, here’s another reality check. This week a man call the police due to a person moving about on his property. A patrol officer was going to respond but his superior told him not to because they needed all the man power at a sit in by wall street protesters. The man was killed due to a bunch of liberal idiots that are wasting tax payer money and now is dead. Take your liberal view points and anything you can carry and move to Greece.

    • Hey Zeus!

      Nice story, Kevin…try to keep your paranoid delusions in check. I don’t think you’re the best person to be talking about “reality checks.”



    • WillIAm

      Perhaps you should sober up before you post.

    • Hey Zeus!

      Really Kevin? The news reported that a man was killed “due to a bunch of liberal idiots?” Here’s a reality check…when you connect dots that aren’t there it could mean that you’re delusional. By the way, are you the same Kevin that frequently writes, “ain’t diversity grand?”

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