Believe it or not, the fairly conservative state of North Dakota did not have any Stand Your Ground laws, until now.
Stand Your Ground laws are important, they provide a legal defense for those who are forced into situations where they have to defend themselves. While North Dakota and many other states have a series of court cases to point as a defense, that is not enough. This new law in North Dakota will ensure that those who are forced to defend themselves won’t have to worry about getting into too much trouble.
The Republican-held Legislature passed more than 500 bills during its biennial session earlier this year, and many will officially go into the law books on Sunday, Aug. 1.
North Dakota will join at least 25 other states in having a so-called “stand-your-ground” law, which expands the existing “castle” law that permits the use of deadly force at one’s home or workplace but requires an effort to escape the attacker in public places unless one’s life is in danger. The new law eliminates the “duty to retreat” and allows the use of deadly force to prevent a violent felony in public or any other place a person is legally permitted to be. The legislation doesn’t cover people who provoke violence.
Supporters of the bill, a favorite of gun rights advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association, said it promotes victims’ rights to protect themselves from attackers and violent criminals in public. Opponents argued it opens the door to false claims of self-defense by bad actors who were never in danger of serious harm and could negatively impact people of color.
As part of a series of reactions to pandemic policies made by Gov. Doug Burgum’s administration, conservative lawmakers barred the state health officer and statewide elected officials, including the governor, from issuing mask mandates. Many legislators took issue with a Burgum-backed mask requirement ordered in November during the state’s peak in COVID-19 infections, the nation’s most severe outbreak at the time.
Stand Your Ground laws are not in every state and this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Gun grabbers aided by the media have for a long time demonized these laws as “legalized murder.”