UPDATE: House committee approves Stand Your Ground law - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: House committee approves Stand Your Ground law

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UPDATE: The Iowa House Judiciary Committee approved a gun bill Wednesday night. Lawmakers tell us the vote split along party lines. The bill now heads to the full House for debate.


Big changes might be coming to Iowa law regarding guns, and how people can use them for self-defense.

A law called stand your ground is currently being debated in the Iowa Legislature. Stand your ground means if someone feels their safety or life is at risk, he or she can use deadly force. In other words, the person can fire a gun in self-defense.

The state of Florida has the stand your ground law; it received national attention when George Zimmerman used the law in his defense for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.

Currently, Iowa law says in your home or business, one can use deadly force. A person doesn't have to retreat, or exhaust lesser means of resolution, to get to safety if they feel their life is at risk. 

If in public, however, the rules are different.

When in public, one must exhaust other ways of getting to safety if they feel their life is at risk. Other means of resolution can include screaming, fist-fighting, calling police, hitting an attacker with a stick, or bat; those methods show demonstration, or exhaustion, of lesser means to a resolution. One must try other options to get to safety before using a firearm in public. 

Stand your ground would get rid of the requirement to try those other options. Under the stand your ground law, a person would not have to exhaust lesser means; if someone believes their life is on the line, deadly force is justified.

There are a few pieces of legislation being debated right now in the Iowa Legislature that deal with stand your ground, including Senate File 25, and House Study Bill 133. In order to remain in consideration the rest of the session, they must pass the first funnel deadline this Friday.   

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