Missouri Senate Bill 666 is getting heated discussion among state lawmakers.
The measure would remove the burden of proof from a potential defendant in a use of deadly force case and place it upon a prosecutor.
Before adjourning for the winter weather storm, the Missouri Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee heard hours’ worth of testimony on the bill.
The bill’s sponsor is Republican Senator Eric Burlison of Battlefield.
The language of the bill states a person may use physical force upon another person when he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself/herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force another person.
If passed, the law would effectively assume a person is justified in taking deadly action, instead of the person providing proof that the action was necessary.
It would be up to a prosecutor to prove otherwise.
Opponents say it’s unnecessary, unsafe and could turn the state into “the Wild West.”
Although the legal definition of reasonable belief is the belief that “an ordinary, prudent person would form under the circumstances in question and one not recklessly or negligently formed,” some argue such belief is subjective.
Senator Brian Williams is a Democrat from University City.
He and many of his colleagues oppose the idea saying it will put lives in danger
The bill has not made it out of committee and Senate hearings continue Monday.