Utah self-defense bill passes House

A bill allowing Utahns to stand their ground in self-defense passed the House on Monday.

HB129 modifies self-defense law to clearly state that failure to retreat from an aggressor "is not a relevant factor in determining whether the individual who used or threatened force acted reasonably."

Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi and the bill's sponsor, said the bill was "good for all of the people of Utah."

The only objection on the floor during the debate came from House Minority Assistant Whip Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City. Romero said she did not understand what the bill was changing in the law and could not support it.

In committee, the opposition's discontent was more vocal.

House Minority Caucus Manager Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, described herself as outraged and said, "This bill opens a floodgate for the unnecessary escalation of dangerous situations."

"A perceived threat is not always a threat. In this country, there is a culture of fear, and this bill empowers people to act on that fear," said Rep. Elizabeth Weight, D-West Valley City.

The bill passed by a vote of 58-11 and will go to the Senate for consideration.

Public domain photo.

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