"Stand Your Ground" law takes effect July 1

BOISE, Idaho - Some new laws take effect in Idaho on July 1. One of them could change the way you protect yourself. 

The "Stand Your Ground" law gives Idahoans more protections when they defend themselves with force. It's a change in law that didn't come without opponents, some suggesting it goes beyond protection and instead gives bad actors an excuse to shoot people or harm individuals, but police are hopeful that won't be the case.

"What the 'stand your ground' law does is it really does not change the 'self-defense' defense, it just puts things into effect statutorily," said Meridian Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea. "(Those who use it) still have to be able to justify why they did what they did."

The bill was one of two "castle doctrine" bills in the Idaho legislature this year, passing into law without the signature from Governor Butch Otter. But, unlike traditional castle doctrine laws, this law expands farther outside your home.

The law puts into place standards that already exist in case law, expanding the definition of justifiable homicide in Idaho. This would include not only defending one's home but also defending one's place of employment or an occupied vehicle.

 

Supporters of the strengthened language in the law, like those at the Independence Indoor Shooting Range, a local company offering classes and training, believe safety and smarts go far beyond the knowledge of the law.

 

"Ultimately, the safety of a gun comes down to your mind because you have control over your mind and your hands," said Steve Zimmerman, manager of the Independence Indoor Shooting Range.

 

Zimmerman says he hopes the law will clarify legal standards for citizens who may be unfamiliar with case law and will help underscore the importance of safety.

 

"Though owning a gun is an awesome right, we all enjoy that right, it's also important to have the knowledge and the skills to be able to deploy that right," Zimmerman said. 

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