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Utah bill: Stand your ground even if safe escape possible

By Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 3, 2017 at 9:17 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's House of Representatives has approved changes to the state's stand-your-ground self-defense law making it clear that people don't need to try to run away before using force, including deadly force, against someone.

Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, the sponsor of HB259, says a person doesn't need to back away before using force even if they have a safe way to escape. If someone is prosecuted for using force, Maloy's bill won't allow a court to hear evidence about whether the person tried to flee first.

At least 22 states have stand-your-ground laws. They've been scrutinized after high-profile shooting deaths like that of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Democrats voting against HB259 say they worry about any extra leeway for someone to use force against a perceived threat, citing the racial biases that minorities can face in communities.

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