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Colorado legislature seeks to include businesses in its ‘Make My Day’ law

Lawmakers may aim to establish the right of Colorado businesses to use deadly physical force against intruders.

DENVER — The Colorado legislature is exploring the right of business owners and employees to utilize self-defense with the proposed expansion of the ‘Make My Day’ law.

House Bill 20-1168 is designed to piggyback off a law passed in Colorado in 1985 — the Homeowner Protection Act. The act, better known as the 'Make My Day' law, was designed to protect homeowners against intruders by granting them the right to use deadly force without the possibility of prosecution.

HB20-1168, introduced by Republican State Rep. Shane Sandridge, aims to expand the 'Make My Day' law to include businesses so that owners, managers and employees would be granted that same right.

The proposed bill is commonly referred to as the 'Make My Day Better' measure, keeping in line with the 'Make My Day' law, which came as a nod to Clint Eastwood's tough-as-nails "Dirty Harry" character.

RELATED: 'Make My Day' law faces prison modification

The bill wouldn't permit the use of deadly force without limitations – businesses would only be able to use such force in instances of self-defense or to protect against the perceived threat of first-degree arson.

The use of deadly force would only be protected if the aggressor “reasonably believes a lesser degree of force is inadequate,” the bill reads.

The bill would allow also physical, but not deadly, force in defense of the premises or property in question.

RELATED: Jury gets 'Make My Day' case in Colorado Springs shooting

This legislation isn’t the first of its kind.

Former sessions have introduced comparable bills to no avail. In 2012, a 'Make My Day Better' bill passed through committee and the House but died in the Senate. 

The proposals have been historically divisive, with Republicans in favor, Democrats opposed.

“This bill gives business owners a license to kill when nothing is threatened other than property,” said former Democratic State Rep. Claire Levy in an interview with the Associated Press.

Conversely, the GOP argued that there is no reason the law should apply to an individual at home, but not in the workplace.

RELATED: No charges for homeowner who shot teen intruder

Republican State Rep. Chris Holbert, who sponsored nearly identical legislature eight years ago, told AP that “…the opponents to that law were quite sure that we would have an increase in people just being shot on doorsteps, and that hasn’t been the case.”

A hearing followed by a vote will commence in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

>> The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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