A Missouri lawmaker wants to change gun laws in the state by asking gun owners to consider retreating instead of pulling the trigger in certain situations.
Rep. Randy Dunn said he proposed House Bill 1940 after several high-profile cases around the country raised questions.
With the current Missouri law, someone can lawfully shoot someone to protect themselves from an intruder if they reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to protect themselves. Secondly, if the person firing the gun is the legal occupant of the home. Third, the person being shot at must be making an unlawful entry.
Gun law debates have divided much of the country and the debate often re-ignites during high-profile trials like the recent one for Michael Dunn, who shot and killed a 17-year-old and claimed self-defense.
"I thought I was going to be killed," Dunn said during the trial.
Jurors convicted Dunn of attempted murder for opening fire on the other teens in the SUV, but they deadlocked on the charge of first-degree murder for killing Jordan Davis.
"Because of a number of issues that have been happening across the country as it relates to the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground-type laws. I feel that instead of encouraging violence we should be trying to find peaceful solutions," Dunn, a Democrat from Kansas City, said.
Dunn says his proposed bill has three main provisions.
"It would require a person to attempt to retreat if at all possible when facing danger," he said.
A defendant must also prove they had no other option than to use deadly force as opposed to the prosecution as it is under the current statue. The third provision would disallow automatic immunity from a civil lawsuit for anyone who uses deadly force or shoots someone.
Attorney Kevin Jamison strongly opposes the bill.
"I'm appalled. This is showing more regard for home invaders than home owners," he said. "This is an absurd piece of legislation. It should be given the contempt it deserves."
Dunn says the provision would hopefully steer people away from automatic violence.
"Being a supporter of the Second Amendment this does absolutely nothing to take away one's right to own a gun and or to protect themselves and or their family. It just says if you can, we should find a peaceful solution instead of jumping to violence immediately," he said.
The bill has had a second reading on the House floor. During the next step it will be referred to a committee.
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