I-Team Report: Michigan's 'Stand Your Ground' laws similar to Florida's
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -
Glen Duncan and Calvin White both own guns.
Both men believe in the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
But when you ask each about the right to "stand their ground," the agreement between the two stops.
"If you're in harm's way and you can protect yourself, that's the way it should be," said Duncan, owner of Duncan's Outdoor Shop in Bay City.
"If I had it, I probably would be more tempted to use it, so I don't even bother with it," said White, who said he leaves his gun at home and uses it strictly for home protection.
Michigan law grants immunity to individuals who must use deadly force, such as firing a gun, if they're being attacked. Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed Public Act 310 into law in 2006.
The so-called "Stand your Ground" law allows individuals who believe they could suffer bodily harm or death while being attacked to use deadly force as their self-defense.
Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel said he believes the law is in place to protect innocent people.
"I'd never advocate taking the law into their own hands, this law is meant as a self-defense act, and that's what they called it, it's exactly that, it's about self-defense and the protection of others," said Federspiel.
Federspiel also said it's crafted to put the discretion in the hands of the person who decides to use deadly force.
"It'll be up to you as the person who is being attacked to articulate why you felt deadly force was necessary should you use deadly force," said Federspiel.
When the I-Team started researching this story, we discovered remarkable similarities between Michigan's so-called "Stand Your Ground" law and the ones in Florida where George Zimmerman was acquitted.
Florida law gives the right for people to stand their ground if they "...believe that such deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another."
Michigan's law gives people the right to self-defense if the person "...believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual."
"That same thing could happen here because they are very similar laws, and you're not telling people that you have to run away from somebody who wants to cause you harm," said Federspiel.
In the end, it would be up to a jury as to whether someone's actions to self-defense were justified. But it's still a hung jury in the court of public opinion.
"I think it's right, and we need it," said Duncan.
"With all this violence we got, that's because everybody's got guns, and some people have them that really don't need them because everybody's not responsible enough to have a gun," said White.
TV5 spoke to several lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, to see if there were any talks in bringing the self-defense laws up for discussion. All lawmakers we got in contact with said there is not any plan to do so.
To read the Michigan "Stand Your Ground" rights in full, CLICK HERE.
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