State Politics

Otter says Stand Your Ground could cause kids’ deaths, but lets bill become law

Gov. Butch Otter delivers his 12th and final State of the State in January 2018.
Gov. Butch Otter delivers his 12th and final State of the State in January 2018. Idaho Statesman file

Gov. Butch Otter has allowed the “stand your ground” bill to become law without his signature.

“I commend those portions of SB 1313 that codify existing case law and recognize the sanctity of private property,” Otter wrote Wednesday in a letter to Lt. Gov. Brad Little, in Little’s capacity as president of the Senate.

“However, a thorough review of this bill reveals some concerns that warrant further review during the next legislative session. Among my biggest concerns are the potential unintended consequences on our children,” Otter stated.

Otter offered two examples: He said a juvenile who broke into an RV to steal a soda and was discovered by the RV’s owner could legally be shot to death under the bill. And he said rural teenagers who snuck into a corn field in the middle of the night could be legally killed under the bill, “simply because the teenagers used stealth to sneak onto the property and are unlawfully trespassing.”

The bill as written, he said, “will exonerate killings that otherwise would be considered unreasonable.”

Otter’s comments match concerns about how the bill interacts with Idaho trespassing law, which a deputy Idaho attorney general raised earlier this session.

You can read Otter’s full letter here.

Statesman staff contributed.

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