Lawmakers consider stand-your-ground bill, eliminating “duty to retreat” when shooting in self-defense

Local News
If passed, North Dakota would join 34 states with stand-your-ground laws or an expanded castle doctrine.

Lawmakers heard testimony Monday about whether you have a “duty to retreat” before using deadly force in self-defense.

House Bill 1193 builds on North Dakota’s existing law, known as the ‘castle doctrine,’ which allows for shooting in self-defense when attacked in the home or place of work. It would expand that doctrine further, so when outside of home or work, you would not have to run and hide before lawfully using a firearm.

Hazelton Republican Representative Jeff Magrum is the primary sponsor of the bill, which removes the existing language that requires an attempt to retreat before shooting.

“We’re in a more violent society right now. People should have the right to defend themselves when they’re out and about, going to the grocery store, maybe down by the river fishing. If someone attacks you, you should have the right to defend yourself without first attempting to run and hide,” Magrum said.

Magrum said a similar piece of legislation failed by a close vote in the last session, but he’s optimistic it will pass this year.

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