A bill is being considered that would allow the average citizen to use deadly force in order to prevent property damage or other crime.

Senate Bill 2315 proposed by Senator David Clemens would allow North Dakota citizens to use deadly force to protect themselves even in situations where the citizen's life is not in immediate danger.

According to the exact wording of the law, "An individual is justified in using deadly force against another individual if the force is used to prevent or terminate an unlawful entry or other trespass in or upon premises, or to prevent an unlawful carrying away or damaging of property."

The bill goes on to say that this force would be deemed appropriate, "to prevent the other individual's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft, or criminal mischief."

Deadly force could also be used, "to prevent the other individual who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft from escaping with the property."

Essentially this means if you are coming back to your house, and you see someone running away from your home with some of your jewelry, you would have the legal right to murder this individual as the criminal is fleeing from your home. Even if there is no direct threat to your own life.

According to an Associated Press story, the North Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is against this law stating that it is a "bad law that doesn't help anyone."

According to the Association's President, "It gives the power to an untrained person to shoot down anyone," he said. "A kid could steal your Christmas decorations and you could gun them down in the street."

In North Dakota, deadly force is already permitted when, "it is expressly authorized by law or occurs in the lawful conduct of war" and "when used in lawful self-defense, or in lawful defense of others, if such force is necessary to protect the actor or anyone else against death, serious bodily injury, or the commission of a felony involving violence."

Immediate action has yet to be taken on the amendment to this bill.

[Associated Press | SB 2315]