The Utah House of Representatives is reinforcing a key provision of Utah’s "Stand Your Ground” law, the controversial statute that allows armed individuals to use lethal force in self-defense.
Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, is the bill’s sponsor. He said the legislation adds more clarity to Utah’s self-defense law.
“It tells us when self-defense is justified. It tells us when self-defense is not justified — and when it is justified, that there is no need to retreat before you exercise your right to self-defense," he said during floor debate.
Legislation passed on Monday adds language that makes it clear that a person’s ability to retreat is not a relevant factor for investigators and prosecutors in determining whether that person acted reasonably.
The bill coasted through the chamber 58-11, despite near unanimous opposition from House Democrats.
Democrats say the measure is unnecessary and will only escalate violent situations.
"I can't support this bill because I really don't understand what it changes in the law," said Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake.