Wyoming Senate Heavily Amends ‘Stand Your Ground’ Bill
The Wyoming Senate on Tuesday amended its version of a ''stand your ground'' bill with a change that the primary sponsor of the bill said would effectively ''gut'' the measure.
By a margin of 22-8, Senators approved an amendment offered by Sen. Drew Perkins [R-Natrona County] that applies the standard of "reasonable" use of deadly force in response to an attack in public. The original version of Senate File 71 had applied a standard of being able to use deadly force if the person using the force subjectively believed their own life or the life of someone else was in danger.
Wyoming residents in their homes are currently covered by the ''castle doctrine," which removes any responsibility to retreat from an attack before using deadly force.
It essentially removes a provision from a "stand-your-ground" bill that sought to give initial immunity from arrest and prosecution to people who claim self-defense.
The change is significant because, under the amended version of the bill, prosecutors could still charge someone if a law enforcement agency investigating the case decided the person being attacked could have reasonably retreated from the assault rather than using deadly force in self-defense.
Sen. Perkins said the practical effect of the amendment would mean that if the bill becomes law Wyoming law on self-defense in a public attack would not change very much.
Sen. Anthony Bouchard [R-Laramie County] the primary sponsor of the bill, had argued the amendment on second reading Tuesday would ''gut the bill.''
However, both Senate File 71 and a Wyoming House ''stand your ground'' bill, House Bill 168, are scheduled for third and final readings on Wednesday, so further attempts to amend one or both bills are certainly possible at this point.