‘Make My Day Better’ bill wins House approval
the associated press
DENVER ” The House approved a bill Wednesday that would expand Colorado’s “Make My Day” law to say people who use deadly force to protect themselves in stores or other businesses cannot be prosecuted.
The law currently protects only people in their homes.
Opponents warned that expanding the law’s reach could lead to violence if shoppers, workers or owners mistake an innocent person for an attacker. Proponents said those fears are overblown and other states with similar bills haven’t had those problems.
The new bill, dubbed “Make My Day Better,” passed the House 34-30, with eight Democrats supporting it, and now goes to the Senate.
In Wednesday’s debate, supporters and opponents alike cited an off-duty police officer in Salt Lake City who was credited with preventing a larger tragedy when he used his gun to stop an 18-year-old who killed five people in a shooting spree Monday.
“This is a chance for us to send a message in Colorado we will protect the victim, not the criminal,” said the sponsor, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma.
Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, said the officer in Salt Lake City was trained to use a firearm and he discounted any comparison between that incident and the Colorado bill.
Others said Coloradans already have the right to defend themselves if they are threatened.
“I think this is a very, very dangerous solution looking for a problem,” said House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder.
Carroll said there is no evidence the “Make My Day” laws reduce crime. Rep. Gwyn Green, D-Golden, warned that people with disabilities or mental illnesses are often mistaken as being threatening and the bill could put them in danger.
“We don’t just blow people away. This legislation encourages a culture of violence,” she said.
Supporters said 15 other states already have similar laws on the books, and they haven’t led to widespread violence.
Colorado sheriffs support the revision while police chiefs oppose it, said Peg Ackerman, spokeswoman for County Sheriffs of Colorado.
“We don’t believe it will lead to any more problems than the original Make My Day law. We actually think it will make very little difference,” she said.
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