Lawmaker proposes controversial changes to Oklahoma’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law

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Run before you shoot?

That’s what a lawmaker wants to happen.

His bill would add another step to our state’s 'Stand Your Ground' law.

He said it will save lives.

Senator Kevin Matthews points to two cases where unarmed people were shot when deadly force wasn’t necessary.

He said the 'Stand Your Ground' defense needs another layer to keep people from being killed.

It’s a split second decision that can change lives forever.

“I think these kinds of laws embolden us to shoot and think later,” Matthews said.

Matthews is talking about Oklahoma’s 'Stand Your Ground' law, which allows people to use deadly force when they feel they’re in danger.

But, he said it’s a defense used too often.

In February last year, Monroe Bird was shot by a security guard at a Tulsa apartment complex.

The security guard fired his gun at Bird, after he claimed Bird backed his car toward him.

Bird was paralyzed and eventually died from his injuries at 21.

Just a few weeks ago, there was another shooting Matthews calls excessive.

 “We had a young Owasso teenager that was playing a New Year’s prank, a ding dong prank, ring the doorbell, and the neighbor shot the kids running,” Matthews said.

His bill would change the language of 'Stand Your Ground' to require an extra step before using deadly force – to retreat, if possible.

“I’m not saying a person committing  a crime or breaking into a house or a car - that we should retreat," Matthews said. "I think, in the case of that young person running away, in the case of Monroe Bird driving away, there are other alternatives other than to shoot."

“This protects criminals," said attorney David McKenzie. "This doesn’t protect us as members of the public."

McKenzie said the bill takes rights away from people carrying a gun in a public place.

“What this does is waters it down and makes it less likely to be able to use self-defense if you were, say at a public park, a restaurant, a bar, some place like that,” McKenzie said.

Matthews has heard these concerns and says his goal is only to prevent more unnecessary deaths.

The ACLU said this could be one way to prevent deaths of innocent bystanders, but there are still more legal issues up in the air.

Matthews voted against 'Stand Your Ground' in 2006 when it passed.

He expects his bill to be heard next month.

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