Idaho Law Clarifies, Strengthens Stand Your Ground Protections

Idaho’s SB 1313 became law last week without the signature of Governor Butch Otter. The new law will take effect on July 1. The law strengthens the state’s current “stand your ground” protections, consistent with similar laws in most other states.

SB 1313 made relatively minor adjustments in the current laws covering self defense in the Gem State. The law had already made homicide justifiable when done to prevent a felony or while entering a habitation by violence or surprise. It now adds places of business and conveyances to the list of places where the law’s protections apply.

The law also clarifies that a person who is attacked need not retreat before defending himself. As with nearly all states, it is the burden of the prosecution to prove that a claimed use of force in self defense was not self defense. That’s consistent with the principle that we are considered innocent until proven guilty.

The new law is part of a trend of states reinforcing the concept that citizens have the right to defend themselves from attack using deadly force, if necessary, wherever they may legitimately be.

Wyoming passed a similar law earlier this month. That brings the total to 27 states with some form of stand-your-ground protection. Seven more states follow stand-your-ground in practice, although they don’t have a specific law in place. Three states limit stand-your-ground to a person’s vehicle as the only place the law applies outside the home.

And yes, there are still  10 states with a duty-to-retreat requirement in their self defense law (no points for guessing which ones).

Unsurprisingly, justifiable homicides were found to increase in states with “stand your ground” laws, while overall homicide rates dropped.

From John Lott:

My research looked at all states that have enacted Stand Your Ground between 1977 and 2012, either through legislation or through court decisions. I consistently found subsequent drops in murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault rates. On average, murder rates fell by about 1.5 percent annually during the first 10 years that the law was in effect.

These are exactly the results you’d expect when the principle of legitimate armed self defense is protected. When you reform laws to decrease the chance of self-defenders being victimized by prosecutors, fewer people will plead out in legitimate self-defense cases. Those cases then turn up in the statistics as more justified homicides.

More criminals will then find homicide a risky proposition, lowering the overall homicide rate.


©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. avatar jwtaylor says:

    I started spending about a week a month around Idaho Falls a year or so ago. It started out just for work, and then I really fell in love with the country and the people. Looking at getting some property there this summer. It reminds me of Texas, just as cold there as it is hot here.
    It was actually dealing with law enforcement there that impressed me the most. Decent folks who are all about protecting people, not just who could give the most tickets.

    1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

      You would be most welcome in our fair state.

      Your observation about our law enforcement, particularly the state troopers, is absolutely spot on. They care more about public safety than they do about writing tickets, and they are invariably professional and courteous.

      By contrast, in Washington State, there is no income tax like there is in Idaho, so the police have a strong incentive to write tickets, and the penalties for those tickets are much steeper than they are in Idaho. Many years ago, I was pulled over and ticketed south of Tacoma for going 59 in a 55. The state trooper said (and I quote) “You people from Idaho think you can drive just as fast as you want, because it’s tolerated there. Well, every time I see an Idaho plate going over the speed limit I pull them over and give them a ticket, just to teach them a lesson”.

      I still drive through Washington from time to time, because there’s nice places there that I want to get to. But I always remember that the traffic police there are a different sort than what I’m used to here.

      1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

        Almost forgot. Make sure you visit Idaho Falls in the winter before you decide to settle there. It’s not for everybody.

        But even if that’s not your cup of tea, I’m sure there’s some corner of our fair state that is.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          I was there quite a bit this winter. It is very cold. But, layers.

    2. avatar Flinch says:

      Lovely area but the oppressive mormon mindset can really suck the soul out of someone. Left the state when I couldn’t take it anymore. Idaho might embrace freedom, but the populace certainly isn’t free. All under the magic thumb of Salt Lake City.

      1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

        Go West. Eastern Idaho is actually more Mormon than Salt Lake in character. The further west you go, the less Mormon it gets.

        And once you go far enough west, it gets even less Mormon the further north you go.

        Full disclosure: I was raised Mormon. But if you’re going to be one of the Chosen Faithful, you have to go along with all the obviously unscientific nonsense. And that’s just not me.

        1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

          Those darn Mormons and their family-centric values… I’m Jewish, live in Utah and find that they make the greatest neighbors and friends. Great place to raise young children!

        2. avatar Bruce says:

          Every time we drive through E ID (expect to later this week), we are reminded that there are just a lot of very big people there. Wife wonders if it is the potatoes they grow there.

          Neither of us were raised Mormon, but she grew up with a heavy concentration of such, and we have both lived amongst them, for extended periods of time. I even managed to be living in SLC for the Olympics (and 9/11). Problem for me is that they aren’t as independent as other westerners, but rather are somewhat communal, esp in regards to outsiders. They will most often close ranks against outsiders, when one of theirs is threatened. As a mostly single guy, it wasn’t bad in the least. Liked most of the Mormon men I worked with. But it is apparently worse for women, and esp bad for Gentile teenagers, where much of the social life in HS revolves around the church (with teen centers often built next door to schools), and most elected offices and the like automatically going to Mormons.

        3. avatar Bruce says:

          I think that part of that is historical. The Mormons apparently supplied a lot of the mining camps in SW MT from SLC, with supply trains running up what is now, essentially, the I-15 corridor up through Pocatello, Idaho Falls, etc.

        4. avatar Bruce says:

          “Those darn Mormons and their family-centric values… I’m Jewish, live in Utah and find that they make the greatest neighbors and friends. Great place to raise young children!”

          One of the funny things there was a guy I met in college from SLC. He always thought it weird being called a Gentile, since he was Jewish.

          Little kids, sure. But I had several people I worked with in CO who transferred there, from SLC, when their kids got into HS, because the kids were then the ones having to deal with the claniness of the Mormons. Still, my wife greatly appreciated the local Relief Society, when she was widowed with two young children.

        5. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          Hey Bruce!
          “Still, my wife greatly appreciated the local Relief Society, when she was widowed with two young children.”

          How’s the internet in the great beyond?

        6. avatar Marty says:

          Yup, we moved to Utah after retiring from SoKal. Great state for gun rights and fellow conservatives. Had Mormon friends in Kalifornia, in fact they warned us about Utah Mormons. A whole different breed. Treated our 4 year old daughter like crap. My wife said that’s it, we’re moving. Eastern Idaho was very Mormon. Western Idaho was great where the few Mormons were like our friends in Kalifornia. We ending up buying 25 acres outside of Cambridge. Now, neither my wife nor daughter wants to build there, ugg. I still love Idaho, but have been out voted. Now we’re looking in northern Wyoming. Income tax free, close to Montana for good medical and no sales tax. Very, very conservative and wonderfully gun friendly.

      2. avatar jwtaylor says:

        “the oppressive mormon mindset can really suck the soul out of someone”
        This is not what I’ve experienced at all. The folks I’ve visited with have asked me if I was LDS, but when I’ve told them that I was pretty staunchly Southern Baptist, they’ve never pushed again. They did the same for my business partner, who’s Jewish. When I visit their homes, they have no problem with me drinking coffee or beer, and one family has started keeping coffee for when I come over.
        We regularly discuss theology, but I’ve never felt like they were proselytizing in any way. If this is oppression, I’m all for it.

        1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          My wife is mormon. We discussed this before our wedding. I was raised southern baptist but I claim no religion. I told her in no uncertain terms that if she planned on converting me she might as well call the wedding off and save us both a hassle. She promised she would not and she has kept her word.

          I only go to church for weddings and funerals. And the occasional free concert. Mormons have access to some really top rate orchestras and they charge no admission.

          Good neighbors? I rate mormons and sikhs at the top of the good neighbor list.

        2. avatar IdahoBoy says:

          Many Mormons are genuinely nice people. I still count several as my friends, despite my conversion from Latter-Day Saint to Early-Day Saint (I met a nice Jewish girl in Jerusalem twenty nine years ago).

          But you should always remember that Mormons have a saying: “Every member a missionary.” What this means is that the best way to win converts is to be nice to them over a long period of time, years if necessary.

          It doesn’t mean that their friendship is insincere. Far from it. They really believe that you are a child of God worth saving, and are genuinely invested in you. But if that’s not what you want, it’s best to realize that this is long game you might not want to play.

        3. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

          Idaho. I’m well aware. But really, most folks of faith are going to nudge you in that direction. I’ve been with this woman for 13 years. She ain’t nudging.

          People that know me for any time know that I’m a man of my word. If I say I ain’t gonna, then I ain’t gonna. I’ve had women kick me to the curb cause they assumed I would change for them.

          I don’t.

  2. avatar Fu manchu says:

    I’m 35 and live in Washington state, I’ve been thinking about retiring in Texas, or Idaho, likely Idaho since it’s closer and easier to move all (our) junk there.
    But I have family in Texas, near Waco and in San Angelo too.
    Unless WA, goes FULL retard then it could be sooner rather than latter.

    1. avatar Mark says:

      Ditto. I live in WA too. Just wondering how long we can keep up the fight against Ferguson and his communist friends.

      1. avatar Fu manchu says:

        It’s exhausting with all of the Taxes they keep passing, don’t even get me started on the transit tax on car tabs $450.00 on 2 cars a year FFS! about 10-12 years ago it was a flat $30 I hate the politics in this state.

        1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

          I hate the driving tax the worst. But it can be avoided if you’re careful.

        2. avatar Fu manchu says:

          Live in the “right” (Skagit) or north snohomish county, some are worse than others LOL
          Stay out of king and pierce counties

  3. avatar M1Lou says:

    I guess Idaho keeps wanting me to move there. I was looking at property online there back in 2016. Since Oregon keeps making laws that make me not want to retire there, Idaho might be a good pick. I just have to convince the wife, and I am not sure she would like it.

    1. avatar dlj95118 (soon to be 83544) says:

      I had my sights set on the area around Bend, but as you said, Oregon just keeps passing rules & regs that don’t fit my plan.

      Idaho it is! Property found, almost done with the purchasing hoops, retirement letter turned in to my manager, CA house being prepped for sale…I am beginning to taste the freedom.

      1. avatar M1Lou says:

        Bend is nothing like what I used to visit when I was a kid. It was affordable, and a small place to stop off before messing around in the desert or mountains. Now it is a place where people from out of state moved to. They drove the prices up so high I couldn’t believe it. I have a feeling Oregon will follow in the footsteps of California in the near future. Especially with governors like Brown(shirt).

    2. avatar FlamencoD says:

      I moved from Oregon to Boise last year and haven’t regretted it one bit – in fact, I love it here. Great move.

      1. avatar Jeff O. says:

        A surprising lack of Dim Sum though…but several good options for Sushi.

        1. avatar Mark says:

          I currently live in WA and work as a pharmacist. If things go full retard here I’m contemplating moving to Post Falls so I can still practice pharmacy in Spokane using my WA license or Coeur D’Alene with an ID license. Any comments as to the environment in Post Falls? Seems like a nice place.

  4. avatar CZJay says:

    I have done things when I was very young that could have got me killed if the law didn’t prosecute people for defending themselves or property. I never thought dying was a possibility, but I knew I was doing something wrong. If the law said people could have killed me for what I did and they wouldn’t get in trouble, I wouldn’t have thought about ever crossing the line because it could get me killed. The reward wasn’t worth the risk.

    If people can rob you of your property and you are not allowed to use deadly force to protect it, then people will for sure run around robbing without worrying about the victims fighting back because the victim will go to prison longer than they would. You won’t have teens breaking into cars or stealing them like it’s a bike they found being thrown away if the law protects you for protecting what is yours.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Florida is pretty good about protecting one’s property.

      Had an interesting one about 20 years back, a kid was breaking into someone’s car parked under a carport.

      Homeowner heard the break-in, went to investigate. Ended up shooting the kid dead.

      The state refused to prosecute the homeowner. As the Florida statute is written, under the roof of the carport, which was attached to the home, is considered under the roof of your home.

      The mother of the felonious teen pitched a major fit. Too bad, mad mommy, if you raised your kid to not even consider stealing from someone, your kid would be alive…

  5. avatar Paul m says:

    Born and raised in Florida. Been dealing with out-of-staters moving here all my life. No problem as long as they leave their liberal politics where they came from. Unfortunately that’s not the case. That not withstanding, we were one of the first to pass “shall issue” and “stand your ground,” but it is a constant battle. One of the biggest problems with people trying to come to the promised land is population. Drove to the Keys last week with a friend. Thirteen hours from where I live. Mostly due to traffic. Try driving through Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, etc with a 30′ off shore boat in tow. Last time I was in the Keys was ’86. Didn’t recognize the place.

  6. avatar KDB says:

    Idaho is great, just leave the state you come from in that place when you leave. Liberals are usually the ones to give us trouble.

  7. avatar Paul m says:

    Yeah, look what they’ve done to Colorado.

  8. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    We need to frame the terms.

    The anti’s successfully branded “Stand Your Ground” as questionable-Zimmerman fronting off at that poor child just getting some snacks. “Stand Your Ground” may sound OK to someone who thinks their home is their castle, but with the branding it summons up a picture of a territorial, judgment-impaired anti-govt type, shooting up a pizza guy who gets the wrong address.

    Idaho clarifies when you can, and can’t get prosecuted for defending yourself in your own space.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      You may be correct , for what it’s worth–which isn’t much, as once a catchy phrase takes hold, one that suits Media and Liberal bias, it’s going to be used no matter what the truth might be.
      “No Duty to Retreat” is more accurate, and less inflammatory; It does not bring to mind the picture of the stalwart-but-wild-eyed gun-wielder boldly planting his feet and shooting someone as he shouts, “You Shall Not Pass!” in a wizardly manner.
      However, it’s not catchy, as is “Stand Your Ground.”
      It’s rather like ‘modern sporting rifle’ vs. ‘assault weapon.’

      1. avatar Jim Bullock says:

        Yeah, it’s a shame that that one took.

        BUT, if we’re stuck with the term, at least be aware of the messaging. Once they say “stand your ground” the programmed folks will see that wizard. Great image in yr comment btw. You get it.

        Myself, I’m a fan of the “real headline” gambit. “Illinois clarifies for dumb f**k prosecutors that they shouldn’t trump up prosecutions against people protecting themselves in their own homes.”, or some such.

        Talking “rights” won’t do it. Better is talking about reigning in Pink Floyd Movie prosecutors, harassing someone for decisions made in a surprised instant, years ago. The point is to hit the frame. “Stand your ground” are “prosecutorial restraint” laws, so some poor sod who got home-invaded won’t get victimized again.

        “Better headline…” fits nicely in comment sections, op eds, or retweete if you are into that kind of thing.

    2. avatar Bruce says:

      Of course, Zimmerman, with Martin sitting on his chest, couldn’t retreat, so Stand Your Ground was irrelevant, But the antis real issue was immunity, which provides that if you prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you used self defense, you can’t be tried for the crime, nor can you be sued. Lumped together with SYD by the press because they were enacted together. Aimed at zeleous prosecutors who use the process of trying self defense victims for murder to penalize them for doing such, even when they don’t have a chance at conviction, and against tort attys, who do the same in civil courts. Mostly irrelevant in Zimmerman’s case, since it was never invoked for strategic reasons. Only real benefit to Zimmerman is that it kept him from being sued by contingency fee attys by Martin’s family.

  9. avatar Paul m says:

    “Stand Your Ground” was meant to prevent over zealous, liberal, anti-gun prosecutors i.e. Janet Reno (remember her?) from prosecuting someone in what should be a justifiable use of force. The reality is that in many use of force situations to retreat is not only tactically unsound, but places the victim in greater danger.

    1. avatar Joe Mama says:

      “Janet Reno (remember her?)”

      You mean the one who killed all those little kids in Waco Texas?

      1. avatar Paul m says:

        That would be the one.

      2. avatar Mister Fleas says:

        Among her other crimes. Janet Reno was also in on the daycare child abuse witch hunts back in the 1980s and early 1990s sweeping America.

  10. avatar Libertarian says:

    It s an start but idaho get only an extrem down watered stand your ground law (thx to an rhino house speaker must be the best bro/friend from joe strauss)

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