Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed an explosive self-defense bill on Monday, saying the lives of police officers could be at risk if citizens are freer to use their guns when they feel threatened.
The governor rejected the measure, saying Minnesota citizens facing threats already have the legal authority to defend themselves and their families. He also cited strong opposition by organizations representing police officers, chiefs of police and county sheriffs.
"When they strongly oppose a measure because they believe it will increase the dangers to them in the performance of their duties, I cannot support it," Dayton said in a veto letter to legislative leaders.
Dayton added that, according to federal figures, there are more than 5 million guns in the state, showing that the "Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is properly being supported by lawmakers and law enforcers. ..." He said state law and court decisions "already provide the authorizations for law-abiding citizens to use deadly force to defend themselves or others, either inside or outside of their homes, so long as that force constitutes 'reasonable force.'"
And he noted prosecutors' concern that the law goes too far in justifying such shootings, allowing "anyone to claim that he or she acted reasonably when using deadly force."
Dayton also objected to requiring Minnesota to recognize concealed weapons permits from all states, which he said would "allow people to carry guns here under the considerably lower standards for the issuance of permits of some other states."
The governor waited three days to veto the bill out of respect to the House sponsor, Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder.
"It's a sad day in Minnesota for law enforcement," said Cornish. He said Dayton's decision is "mostly the fault of the chiefs and sheriffs and the talking heads, not the rank and file" and he questioned whether those leaders supported gun-owners rights.
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