Immunity for Self-Defense Measure Sent to Senate

Mike Seals - March 11, 2021 11:49 pm

Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore,

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation clarifying immunity protections for people asserting claims of self-defense passed the House today.

Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore, said House Bill 1662 was a constituent request and he worked with the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association and with the state District Attorneys Council on the language in the bill.

“For people who have to use justified self-defense to protect themselves when they fear for their lives or safety, this gives them the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty and that they acted in a legal manner unless proven otherwise,” West said.

West ran a similar measure last year, but it was sidelined because of COVID.

As amended, HB 1662 creates an appeal process for a defendant charged with and subject to criminal prosecution for unlawful use of defensive force. The measure would allow the defendant to file a motion to dismiss charges based on a claim of justified self-defense. If the motion is successful, the criminal charges and proceedings are to be dismissed with prejudice, which means the charge cannot be refiled.

The bill requires that if the court still decides at the end of the appeals process to pursue the unjustified use of force charge then the state must prove based on clear and compelling evidence that the defensive force used was not justified and was thereby unlawful.

HB 1662 passed by a vote of 77-19. Sen Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow is carrying the bill in the state Senate.

 

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