In a packed committee room — many in the audience wearing green buttons proclaiming, “Self Defense is a Human Right” — a House committee today (Thursday, April 28) heard and advanced controversial gun legislation.

House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee Chairman Tony Cornish’s bill expands a person’s ability to defend themselves and their property against perceived threats through the use of deadly force.

Although current state allows for the use of deadly force under certain conditions, Cornish’s bill would significantly change the law.

For instance, it broadens the definition of dwelling to include all buildings on a person’s property, and also includes tents, motor homes, hotel rooms.

It establishes a rebuttal presumption so that the person using deadly force is presumed to possess a reasonable belief that they’re facing imminent threat of great bodily harm or death.

It reverses the burden of proof in self-defense cases, so the defender no longer needs to prove their innocence, but prosecutors need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defender did not act lawfully.

The bill allows for a defender to meet force with superior force, and continue using that force until the threat is eliminated.

Republican Cornish, a former game warden and current Chief of Police of Lake Crystal, has been shot at twice in the line of duty and had more guns pointed at him while a game warden, he explained, than the average law enforcement officer would ever confront.

Still, Cornish depicted the vehement objections to his bill — some voiced by law enforcement officials — as “a lot of hoopla.”

It’s the same people, the same arguments, used to oppose the state’s successful Personal Protection Act, or concealed carry, legislation a few years back, Cornish argued. “I think it’s a good bill,” Cornish said of his legislation. “A common sense bill,” he said.

Source: Princeton Union-Eagle

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