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.

Pat Kessler

Comments (69)
  1. mike says:

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

    1. Police Officer says:

      No, I don’t.

      1. Gun-Tea says:

        @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….

    2. Gordon says:

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

    3. filbert says:

      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.

  2. tom says:

    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.

    1. Lets lie to get our way says:

      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.

    2. Police Officer says:

      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?

  3. captainobvious says:

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

  4. tom says:

    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.

    1. Police Officer says:

      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?

  5. tom says:

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

    1. Joe says:

      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.

      1. tuna-free dolphin says:

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

        1. For reasonable gun owning says:

          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..

      2. Shannon says:

        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.

  6. Fight For Your Gun Rights says:

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

  7. Jason says:

    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.

    1. Police Officer says:

      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?

      1. Jason says:

        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).

        1. Police Officer says:

          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…

          1. Jason says:

            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)

  8. tuna-free dolphin says:

    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!

    1. Been There says:

      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.

  9. Pure B.S says:

    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.

  10. Cache says:

    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.

  11. john h says:

    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.

  12. Yelper says:

    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.

    1. Southern MN Mom says:

      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!

    2. Bob says:

      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…..

  13. Dangerous bill says:

    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.

    1. ?? says:

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

    2. Jason says:

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

  14. Mis-named Story says:

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

  15. TEA's Take says:

    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!!!!

  16. Don't carry a gun, don't care if you do says:

    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.

  17. Rob says:

    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……….

    1. GO ROB GO! says:

      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…

      1. Jason says:

        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.

        1. Go Rob Go! says:

          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.

          1. Jason says:

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

            1. Jason says:

              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.

            2. Go Rob Go! says:

              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.

            3. Go Rob Go! says:

              And you didn’t answer my questions either…

              1. Jason says:

                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

                1. Go Rob Go! says:

                  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…

  18. Phineas says:

    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.

  19. mmm says:

    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.

  20. Spider Rico says:

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

  21. RIII says:

    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.

  22. Bob says:

    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…..

    1. police officer says:

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

  23. SWEAT says:

    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.

    1. police officer says:

      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…

  24. zee the reporter says:

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

  25. manny says:

    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.

  26. Kevin says:

    Since when is a police officer’s life any more valuable than any other citizen’s life?

    1. Police Officer says:

      Since never. Nobdoy should think that. But, just as we grieve when a soldier is killed for our country, we grieve when a police officer is killed protecting you and your property. Not all police feel the way Harrington does. Obviously, since it’s a police chief that wrote the bill that’s causing all this commotion…

  27. mmm says:

    I have the constitutional right to bear arms. I have the constitutional right to defend myself, my family and my property against crime. What I don’t seem to have is a judicial system that allows me to live within those rights. Nor does this system actually punish the criminal who consistently reoffends. Police personnel, get your noses out of this business. It’s not all about you. This is about taking back America.

    1. Police officer says:

      What if police want to help you do that? When did the police ever say it was all about them? Police have constitutional rights too. It’s a police chief that wrote this bill–he is on your side!!

  28. Al says:

    Anybody with a gun is a kook.

    1. What color is the sky in your world? says:

      Soldiers, police, federal agents–they’re all kooks?? Take a good look in the mirror and see who the real kook is.

      1. Al says:

        It is so easy, and fun to get a right wing nut to be so angry.

        1. What color is the sky in your world? says:

          I’m not a right winger at all, and I’m not angry. But, if this is how you get your jollies, have at it. Peace, and have a great day!

  29. dave says:

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

    Sounds like a good and reasonable idea!

    And to answer the chiefs important questions, no- i’m not heading out hunting in my backyard if I hear a noise.. That wouldn’t be life threatening would it chief? Not even if it’s night, badged noisemaker or not.

    As for the warrants and other things- those are already dangerous situations for police, and probably aren’t relevant because this bill is about legal gun owners defending their lives, not about thugs that want to harm police in the first place.

    Please support this bill, thanks!

  30. Ed says:

    The law would be nice to have, since I’m going to defend myself and family anyway with or without the law. We use 911 if possible but If someone is going to end up dead I will do whatever it takes to make sure it’s not me or my family.

    1. GOPSUX says:

      typical sick repuke.

      1. Phineas says:

        Just because someone has the conviction to state that they would do whatever it takes to protect their loved ones, you feel the need to name call? That is definitely a sign of a weak minded sheeple who has drank so much kool-aid that the doctrine that has been wedged in their throat feels absolutely nutritious. I don’t know if you have realized it but… there are those out their just waiting for society to fall (Not saying that it will happen mind you) so that they can feast on tree huggers who spout the nonsense similar to the three words you posted. Wake up. While you still can!

  31. jeff says:

    this is not a dangerous bill…..perhaps to criminals!!!! i am liberal and against taking away our guns! too many times have criminals been foiled in their attacks against law abiding citizens and when they got hurt, cry foul and turn around and sue………..AND WIN!!!!!! are you kidding me? citizens need to be more protected from criminals after they have their butts haded to them!!!!