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Bill Says Stand Your Ground Defensible, Even If Victim Could Safely Escape

MarianVejcik via

The Utah House of Representatives approved changes Thursday to the state's stand-your-ground law. The bill would clarify that someone doesn’t have to try to run away before using deadly force against an attacker, even if there is a safe way to escape.

Republican Representative Cory Maloy's proposal also says courts can’t hear evidence about whether the person tried to flee first. Republican Representative Norm Thurston told members of the House, it makes sense.

“I think this is really helpful to protect innocent citizens who recognize they have a right and the judge and the juries cannot say you should have tried to do something different when in reality they weren’t required to and didn’t even need to,” Thurston said.

Two Democrats spoke against the bill. Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houk said she’s worried about people being injured or killed because they are perceived as a threat. She said that’s a real worry for people of color especially-using her Latino son as an example.

“When you have your own child come home and say, I was asked to leave a store because one of the clerks came to me and said, you’re making our customers feel nervous, implicit bias is real,” Chavez-Houk said.

The bill passed 53 to 15, mostly along party lines. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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