How Does Wyoming Law Compare to "Stand Your Ground" in Florida?

By: Kyle Markley Email
By: Kyle Markley Email

Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - 26 states have "shoot first" or "stand your ground" laws.

NewsChannel 5 looks at how the law is different in Wyoming compared to a state like Florida that has received much national attention for its "stand your ground" law.

Multiple shootings in Florida during the past two years, one involving the controversial case of George Zimmerman and another at a Tampa theater have brought "stand your ground" laws into the national spotlight.

Wyoming has a version of the stand your ground law called the "Castle Doctrine" adopted by the Wyoming Legislature in 2008.

"A person's home is their castle. In other words, if an intruder comes in you have the right to use deadly force against that intruder," said Scott Homar, Laramie County District Attorney.

Before 2008 you had to prove you were in mortal danger if someone entered your home unauthorized, but after the 2008 legislation it became a presumption.

"A person either entering their home or that had entered their home their was a presumption that they were there to do you harm and a presumption of reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury in order to use deadly force," said Homar.

But law states even if you are just in the process of entering the home, the law still applies.

"If someone's trying to pry your door open to use deadly force and that presumption stays with you that you are in danger of death or serious bodily injury," Homar said.

The "stand your ground" law in a state like Florida expands your rights from your house to public places.

"You don't have a duty to retreat in public first and foremost. In Wyoming, there is still a duty to retreat unless you have no avenue of retreat," Homar said.

Gun advocacy groups in Wyoming would like to see Wyoming adopt a law more like Florida's.

"We would like to see it be a better bill where it gives people the right to defend themselves wherever they are and have protection against civil action that is frivolous," said Anthony Bouchard, Executive Director of Wyoming Gun Owners
Wyoming legislator, Rep. (D) Jim Byrd, voted for the Castle Doctrine, but does not like the idea of having guns at most public places.
"We need some fences. Like some places where you shouldn't be allowed to bring a firearm. My opinion, bars, churches and public meetings are right to the top of that list," Byrd said.

For now the law remains the same, but the debate on what the law should cover will rage on.


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