The North Dakota chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, the grassroots networks of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the North Dakota state House passed HB 1498, dangerous “Stand Your Ground” legislation. The House also advanced several other bills to weaken gun laws including a proposal to eliminate all remaining significant restrictions on permitless carry, including the requirement that a person qualify for a permit, that the gun not be loaded, and the time-of-day restrictions (HB 1293), and a proposal to prohibit state officials from helping to enforce federal gun laws (HB 1383).
“In states with so-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, homicides have increased and gun violence has gotten worse, so why are North Dakota lawmakers trying to bring it here?” said Cheryl Biller, a volunteer with the North Dakota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our self-defense laws are effective, and they protect people who have no choice but to fight for their lives. This legislation, on the other hand, would encourage vigilantism and unnecessary violence by allowing anyone to shoot to kill in public even when they can clearly and safely walk away from danger. Our lawmakers should be focusing on reducing violence, not increasing it.”
What to know about so-called “Stand Your Ground”:
- North Dakota already has strong self-defense laws which allow people to defend themselves in dangerous situations. But HB 1498 is a “Stand Your Ground” proposal which would encourage armed vigilantism and would allow a person to kill another person in public even when there is a way to safely walk away from danger.
- “Stand Your Ground” laws are associated with increases in homicide rates resulting in more than 150 additional gun deaths each month. “Stand Your Ground” laws are also associated with an increase in firearm injuries resulting in emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
- So-called “Stand Your Ground” laws are inherently dangerous for everyone, but they have a particularly harmful impact on people of color. When white shooters kill Black victims and in “Stand Your Ground” states, the resulting homicides are deemed justifiable five times frequently than when the victim is white and the shooter Black.
More information about “Stand Your Ground” laws is available here.