What gun owners need to know about self-defense laws in ND

Good Day Dakota

Nearly half of all people living in North Dakota are registered gun owners, but our state is not a stand-your-ground state. That means gun owners cannot use deadly force in self defense in a public place unless there is no alternative.

What would you do if you were carrying your firearm and had to make the split-second decision between using it or not using it to defend yourself from an attacker?

We’re Putting North Dakota First, to see how this issue, and future legislation could affect you.

“Right now in North Dakota if you’re being attacked and you shoot the perpetrator, the family can sue you,” said House Representative Jeff Magrum who is working to pass the stand-your-ground bill in North Dakota. 

“There’s no reason the victim should have to worry about getting charged for something if they’re just defending them self or others,” said Magrum. 

By leading the effort to pass stand-your-ground, Magrum is working to expand to North Dakota’s Castle Doctrine to include public spaces. 

“If you’re not in your home, or your RV, or your place of work; For example, if you’re out in the parking lot and someone is attempting to use excessive or deadly force against you, where do you retreat to and what is considered a retreat,” asked Magrum. 

The Castle Doctrine allows you to use your firearm for self-defense without the burden of retreat in your home, RV, and place of work. But, as the law currently stands in North Dakota if you’re in your yard or in public you have the duty to retreat before you can use your firearm.

Additionally, you have to actively attempt to force the attacker to retreat. Magrum’s stand-your-ground bill would omit that burden.

“Texas has a stand your ground bill. So, there was no time in that church shooting. If you watch the video you will see they had to react fast. So, they didn’t have time to think if they were gonna get sued by a family member or anything like that,” said Magrum. 

Representative Magrum tells us he is reintroducing the stand-your-ground bill in the next legislative session. If it passes, Magrum says it will empower victims by reducing barriers for self-defense, however it would be unlawful to use more force than necessary.

The stand-your-ground House bill failed by a vote of 41-49 during the last legislative session in 2019.

Click here for the link to read the House bill that would add stand-your-ground to North Dakota’s Castle Doctrine.

The following is the legal language for how the current law stands in North Dakota:

K – 3.55.Limits on Use of Excessive or Deadly Force 2011

A person is not justified in using more force than is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.

Deadly force is justified:

[if it is expressly authorized by law or occurs in the lawful conduct of war.]

[If it is used in lawful self-defense, or in lawful defense of others and the force is necessary to protect the actor or anyone else against death, serious bodily injury, or the commission of a felony involving violence.

The use of deadly force is not justified if it can be avoided, with safety to the actor and others, by retreat or other conduct involving minimal interference with the freedom of the person menaced. The use of deadly force is not justified unless the person honestly and reasonably believed that safe retreat from the attacker was not possible.

A person seeking to protect someone else must try to cause that person to retreat or otherwise comply with the requirements of this provision before using deadly force, if safety can be obtained thereby. But, 1) a public servant justified in using force in the performance of duties or a person justified in using force in a public servant’s assistance need not desist from the efforts because of resistance or threatened resistance by or on behalf of the person against whom the action is directed, and 2) no person must retreat within or from one’s dwelling or place of work unless the person was the original aggressor or is assailed by someone known to also dwell or work there. If the facts and circumstances attending a person’s use of deadly force against an assailant who is a cohabitant are sufficient to create an honest and reasonable belief that safe retreat from the assailant is not possible, use of deadly force is justified, and a failure to retreat is of no consequence.]

[if it is used by a person in possession or control of a dwelling or place of work, or a person who is licensed or privileged to be there, if the force is necessary to prevent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, or a felony involving violence upon or in the dwelling or place of work, and the use of force other than deadly force for those purposes would expose anyone to substantial danger of serious bodily injury.]

[If it is used by a public servant authorized to effect arrests or prevent escapes, if the force is necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody of a person who has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving violence, or is attempting to escape by the use of a deadly weapon, or has otherwise indicated the person is likely to endanger human life or to inflict serious bodily injury unless apprehended without delay.]

[If it is used by a guard or other public servant and the force is necessary to prevent the escape of a prisoner from a detention facility, unless the guard or other public servant knows that the prisoner is not a person who has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving violence, or is attempting to escape by the use of a deadly weapon, or has otherwise indicated a likelihood to endanger human life or inflict serious bodily injury unless apprehended without delay.

A detention facility is any place used, pursuant to Court Order, for the confinement of a person 1) charged with or convicted of an offense, 2) charged with being or adjudicated a juvenile delinquent, 3) held for extradition, or 4) otherwise confined pursuant to Court Order.]

[If it is used by a duly licensed physician, or a person acting at a physician’s direction, if the force is necessary to administer a recognized form of treatment to promote the physical or mental health of a patient and the treatment is administered 1) in an emergency; 2) with the consent of the patient, or, if the patient is a minor or an incompetent person, with the consent of the patient’s parent, guardian, or other person entrusted with the patient’s care and supervision; or 3) by order of a Court of competent jurisdiction.]

K – 3.32.Self Defense (After Provocation) 1985

A person is justified in using force upon another to defend oneself against danger of imminent unlawful bodily injury, sexual assault, or detention by the other person. One is not justified in using force if one [causes bodily injury or death to the other person and had intentionally provoked the danger defended against] [has entered into mutual combat with another person or is the initial aggressor, unless resisting force that is clearly excessive in the circumstances].

A person’s use of defensive force is justified if, after one withdraws from an encounter and has indicated to the other person that one has done so, the other person nevertheless continues or menaces unlawful action.
Statute:
N.D.C.C. 12.1-05-12(3) “Force” means physical action, threat, or menace against another, and includes confinement.

N.D.C.C. 12.1-05-12(1) “Deadly force” means force which a person uses with the intent of causing, or which he knows creates a substantial risk of causing, death or serious bodily injury. A threat to cause death or serious bodily injury, by the production of a weapon or otherwise, so long as the actor’s intent is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute deadly force.  

N.D.C.C.  12.1-05-06. Use of force in defense of premises and property. Force is justified if it is used to prevent or terminate an unlawful entry or other trespass in or upon premises, or to prevent an unlawful carrying away or damaging of property, if the person using such force first requests the person against whom such force is to be used to desist from his interference with the premises or property, except that a request is not necessary if it would be useless or dangerous to make the request or substantial damage would be done to the property sought to be protected before the request could effectively be made  
  N.D.C.C. 12.1-05-07  Limits on the use of force – Excessive force – Deadly force.1. an individual is not justified in using more force than is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.2. Deadly force is justified in the following instances:[…]b. When used in lawful self-defense, or in lawful defense of others, if such force is necessary to protect the actor or anyone else against death, serious bodily injury, or the commission of a felony involving violence. The use of deadly force is not justified if it can be avoided, with safety to the actor and others, by retreat or other conduct involving minimal interference with the freedom of the individual menaced. An individual seeking to protect another individual must, before using deadly force, try to cause the other individual to retreat, or otherwise comply with the requirements of this provision, if safety can be obtained thereby. However, the duty to retreat or avoid force does not apply under the following circumstances:(1) A public servant justified in using force in the performance of the public servant’s duties or an individual justified in using force in assisting the public servant need not desist from the public servant’s or individual’s efforts because of resistance or threatened resistance by or on behalf of the other individual against whom the public servant’s or individual’s action is directed; and(2) An individual is not required to retreat within or from that individual’s dwelling or place of work or from an occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01, unless the individual was the original aggressor or is assailed by another individual who the individual knows also dwells or works there or who is lawfully in the motor home or travel trailer.c. When used by an individual in possession or control of a dwelling, place of work, or an occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01, or by an individual who is licensed or privileged to be there, if the force is necessary to prevent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, or a felony involving violence upon or in the dwelling, place of work, or occupied motor home or travel trailer, and the use of force other than deadly force for these purposes would expose any individual to substantial danger of serious bodily injury.[…]

 N.D.C.C. 12.1-05-07.1. Use of deadly force – Presumption of fear of death or serious bodily injury.

1. An individual is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury to that individual or another when using deadly force if:

a. The individual against whom the deadly force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered and remains within a dwelling, place of work, or occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01, or if the individual had removed or was attempting to remove another against that individual’s will from the dwelling, place of work, or occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01; and
b. The individual who uses deadly force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

2. The presumption in subsection 1 may be rebutted by proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual who used the deadly force did not have a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury to that individual or another.
3. The presumption in subsection 1 does not apply if the court finds that any of the following have occurred:

a. The individual against whom the deadly force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, place of work, or occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01, including an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not a temporary or permanent domestic violence protection order or any other order of no contact against that individual;
b. The individual removed or sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the individual against whom the deadly force is used;
c. The individual who uses deadly force is engaged in the commission of a crime or is using the dwelling, place of work, or occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01 to further the commission of a crime; or
d. The individual against whom the deadly force is used is a law enforcement officer who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, place of work, or occupied motor home or travel trailer as defined in section 39-01-01 in the performance of official duties and the officer provided identification, if required, in accordance with any applicable law or warrant from a court, or if the individual using force knew or reasonably should have known that the individual entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Videos

Swimming

Thumbnail for the video titled "Swimming"

Nurse Tests Positive Update

Thumbnail for the video titled "Nurse Tests Positive Update"

Price Gauging

Thumbnail for the video titled "Price Gauging"

N95 Local Need

Thumbnail for the video titled "N95 Local Need"

RW: Delores Castle

Thumbnail for the video titled "RW: Delores Castle"

Governor Burgum's Saturday Press Briefing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Governor Burgum's Saturday Press Briefing"

Robert one minute 3-28

Thumbnail for the video titled "Robert one minute 3-28"

Stuffed Animals

Thumbnail for the video titled "Stuffed Animals"

Books and Bracelets

Thumbnail for the video titled "Books and Bracelets"

Yoga

Thumbnail for the video titled "Yoga"

5 minute test

Thumbnail for the video titled "5 minute test"

Jaxon Duttenhefer

Thumbnail for the video titled "Jaxon Duttenhefer"

Mr. Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mr. Basketball"

2 New Exec Orders

Thumbnail for the video titled "2 New Exec Orders"

Music at CHI

Thumbnail for the video titled "Music at CHI"

Pebble Creek

Thumbnail for the video titled "Pebble Creek"

Telemedicine

Thumbnail for the video titled "Telemedicine"

Telehealth

Thumbnail for the video titled "Telehealth"

Overpayment Scam

Thumbnail for the video titled "Overpayment Scam"

Hockey

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hockey"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge