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Idaho Senate backs ‘stand your ground’ gun law on party-line vote

UPDATED: Fri., March 2, 2018, 4:02 p.m.

The domed ceiling of the Idaho Senate chamber. (Betsy Z. Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
The domed ceiling of the Idaho Senate chamber. (Betsy Z. Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

BOISE - The Idaho Senate has passed a “stand your ground” gun law on a 29-6 party-line vote, with all Senate Republicans voting in favor and all Senate Democrats voting against.

“Idaho has some of the best self-defense laws in the country,” Sen. Todd Lakey, R-Nampa, told the Senate. “These concepts have long been recognized and described in Idaho code, case law and jury instructions,” starting with a 1909 Idaho Supreme Court decision.

Lakey said his bill takes all that case law, jury instruction and existing law and consolidates it into a single state code section. “It provides a better location for individuals to look and understand their rights of self defense in Idaho,” he said. “It also preserves and protects these principles so the courts continue to apply them.”

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, who like Lakey is an attorney, said he had no problem with writing the case law and jury instructions into statute, but he said the bill also changes the burden of proof. “My concern is immunizing people from having to explain their conduct in killing another human being,” Burgoyne said.

Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, called the bill unnecessary. “Idaho law currently recognizes one’s right to self-defense and it does not include a duty to retreat,” she told the Senate.

The bill now moves to the House, where it is co-sponsored by Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale. A competing, farther-reaching “stand your ground” bill also is pending in a House committee, but it hasn’t yet had a hearing.

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