In numerous states, anti-self defense prosecutors have charged people who were defending themselves. The defenders used restraint and didn’t have to pull the trigger, but were then charged with illegal use of deadly force. Because of those abuses, Arizona, Florida, Iowa and other states have enacted defensive display laws similar to an Oklahoma bill now working its way through the legislature.
The current law — which virtually requires gun owners to pull the trigger if they draw a firearm — is an incentive to turn a dangerous situation into a deadly one. SB40 changes that in Oklahoma.
A person pointing a weapon at a perpetrator in self-defense or in order to thwart, stop or deter a forcible felony or attempted forcible felony shall not be deemed guilty of committing a criminal act.
In an article about the bill, Oklahoma Representative Bobby Cleveland makes the case:
A newly proposed Oklahoma state law, formally known as Senate Bill 40, could make it legal for people to brandish guns in an act of self-defense.
As they currently stand, state laws forbid the deliberate exposure of firearms except in instances of deadly force, according to Tulsa World.
“When you go and get your (concealed carry) license, that instructor tells you that you don’t bring your gun out, you don’t show your gun, you don’t intimidate somebody with your gun,” said Slaughterville Representative Bobby Cleveland.
“If you bring it out, you have to shoot.”
Representative Cleveland is showing the absurdity of that advice.
What about the numerous cases where people draw guns, and the perpetrator flees? Should the defender shoot at a fleeing felon? What about a defender who is menaced with a knife, or a club, or a mob threatening to kill them? Must they shoot? It would be irresponsible to shoot once the menace has stopped being a threat.
The Oklahoma bill is simple common sense. Requiring someone to shoot when they draw a gun is a deadly legislative mistake.
SB 40 passed the Oklahoma Senate, 36-5 and passed the Oklahoma House 82-8. It still needs a procedural vote in the Senate before it goes to Governor Mary Fallin.