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

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