What is Michigan’s “Stand Your Ground” Law?

Michigan Coalition For Responsible Gun Owners
Michigan Coalition For Responsible Gun Owners

Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)-Ohio –-(Ammoland.com)- Q: What is Michigan's “Stand Your Ground” law?

A: MCL 780.972 states: “Use of deadly force by individual not engaged in commission of crime; conditions.

Sec. 2.

(1) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses deadly force may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if either of the following applies:

(a) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual.

(b) The individual honestly and reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.

(2) An individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses force other than deadly force may use force other than deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if he or she honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.”

It is very clearly worded. It is not, as some commentators have suggested, a “hunting license for humans,” or a “shoot first” law. The statute above, which was enacted in 2006, simply did away with the dangerous and confusing “duty to retreat” that existed prior to the change.

Note: When the statute refers to “honestly and reasonably,” it is laying out what we lawyers call a “two-prong test.” Which means that the citizen who defends himself or herself must actually believe that what is being prevented is death, great bodily harm, or sexual assault. And, furthermore, that belief must be objectively reasonable under the circumstance. Meaning that if a jury hears all the relevant facts and determines that if they were in the same situation, they would also honestly believe that deadly force was an appropriate, proportional response to the threat, then the second prong of the test is met.

It is also worth mentioning that responsible instructors and trainers speak with one voice when they say that a citizen is always better off not firing a gun in self-defense unless absolutely necessary. Squeezing the trigger of a loaded gun in such a situation means that your life will be forever changed in a variety of ways: legally, financially and psychologically. As one of our leading national self-defense authors, Massad Ayoob, says in the title of one his best-known works, a gun is to be used only “In The Gravest Extreme.”

This common-sense law is currently under attack in the legislature. HB 5644, sponsored by Timothy Bledsoe and other members of the Michigan House, would repeal the statute above and return us to the days when law-abiding citizens who were forced into defending themselves on the street, could be second-guessed by prosecutors and forced to defend themselves again in court because they didn't turn their backs on a deadly threat, something that I was warned against specifically during Infantry training at Fort Benning.

Steve Dulan (www.StevenWDulan.com) is a member of the Board of Directors of the MCRGO and the MCRGO Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the MCRGO Foundation. He is an attorney in private practice in East Lansing and Adjunct Professor of firearms law at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School. as well as an Endowment Member of the NRA.

The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Formed from just eight people in 1996, we now have thousands of members and numerous affiliated clubs across the state. We're growing larger and more effective every day.

Our mission statement is: “Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation” Visit: www.mcrgo.org

  • 22 thoughts on “What is Michigan’s “Stand Your Ground” Law?

    1. Can anyone recommend a good concealed carry insurance company for Detroit Michigan area? So many to choose from

    2. Stand your ground needs to stay and as far as im concern mafe more better for the law abiding citizen. People who are criminals or dont care about any law will threathen and prey on innocent defenseless people and wont think twice about any law. So stop limited and tieing the hands of thr law abiding and put more protections against civil law suits and hassels for those who are in the right. A person come up to you and threatens to beat you to death hey by all means protect yourself in my book.

    3. My daughter was just sentenced to 12/20 for stabbing to death (one stab) her boyfriend who was attacking her at the time,,,I guess Stand Your Ground doesn’t apply to everyone in the State of MI. We shall appeal…

    4. Well there shouldn’t b any stipulation t the law Texas has the right law idk about you but when was the last time u were in flint or detroit ……..or college park Atlanta Georgia could go on in on but my point is we the people should have the right t use whatever measure of force necessary including deadly force especially in public situations of course your home car n property should b defended from all threats foreign and domestic …….within reason if u r attacked defend yourselves

      1. Scooter: Knock off the internet abbreviations. They are stupid , irritating, and incredibly lazy ways to communicate. If y you are to lazy to type in “you,” instead of “u,” perhaps you drink a gallon of coffee before writing online.

    5. Mr. Blaydoe,

      How do you know Trayvon Martin was a thug? I missed that during the trial. Let me guess, the “media” informed you that any young Black person much be a gangster. If he was a young white boy, how “threatened” would Mr. Zimmerman had felt? Let’s stick to the facts and keep the stereotypical language and personal beliefs about Black to one’s self unless you want everyone to know your racist beliefs.

    6. Marc, Thanks for clearing all that up!

      I am glad to know you were there and witnessed the altercation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin!

      But I am wondering why you didn’t come forward with all of this information before the trial? Could have saved the taxpayers of FL a lot of money if you had just told them what you told us here.

    7. There is no evidence whatsoever that indicates that Trayvon was stopped, confronted, “stalked” (why do people insist on using words that they don’t remotely know the meaning of?) or threatened by George. Trayvon confronted George, George did not confront Trayvon. How hard is this to understand? Why do agenda-driven idiots and tools refuse to acknowledge a simple fact?

      If you are being followed, you go somewhere safe. Hello? You do NOT double back, get in their face and declare “You got a problem? Well now you do!” then sucker-punch them, breaking their nose and then proceed to pummel them on the ground while they are helpless. Do you honestly think this is justified because you think somebody is “following” you? Some people have no idea of the concept of appropriate force or even civil social interaction.

      The “kid” was not “protecting himself”, plain and simple. He decided to go all “gangsta” on the wrong person, one who happened to be able to defend himself. Trayvon was a predator, not a victim. Sometimes predators get put down. Live like a thug, die like a thug. Now show me something, any piece of testimony or physical evidence that even suggests another scenario. I’ll wait.

      1. Wonder if you would feel the same if Zimmerman would have been shot. Confronting someone in the dark is pretty threatening. Zimmerman showed his true colors after the trial. Domestic etc. However I do support SYG. No reason to feed trial lawyers.

    8. @Nancy Chambers: George Zimmerman did not “stalk” Trayvon. You really should know the definition of words before you use them. He was NOT officially requested by the local police to do anything. He was already out of his vehicle when the non-police operator told him that following the suspect was “not necessary”, but he was NOT under any police order, you are making that up. The only thing you said that is correct is that SYG doesn’t apply but you got the reason wrong. When you are down on the ground with a person on top of you, retreat is NOT an option, ergo, no SYG, this is a clear case of self-defense. There is a great injustice here though, I do agree. However the injustice is that a person who lawfully defended himself from a thug who was trying to beat him senseless and should never have been brought to trial is being persecuted by people bent on using this incident to poke holes in our right to legal bear arms.

    9. I totally agree with the stand your ground law. Unfortunately what George Zimmerman did does not fall under this category. Allowing a man to stalk a teen and not follow the official request of the local police does not then give a cop-wanna-be permission to shoot to kill. Mr. Zimmerman should have followed the police order and returned to his truck. An injustice has been made here and the nation will have a hard time recovering.

    10. this law needs to be changed we don’t need fruit cakes running around with guns killing individuals because of stand your ground law. If this keeps up there’s going to be a lot of senseless killings. its not going to be pretty lets us some common sense.let’s change this law and lets make it harder for those individuals committing crimes with guns not to be able to purchase them. This is not a black or white issue it’s a call for change.

      1. The individuals committing crimes are not purchasing guns legally. So you are not going to limit their availability.

      2. The stand your ground law should stay. That don’t cause criminal to be criminals, bad people already have evil intention of wrong doing. The bad guy careless about stand your ground law. His attention is to take what’s your by any means necessary.

    11. I am fine with the law as it is presently written. The law did what was intended in FL. It was not used. Zimmerman claimed self defense and the police, prosecutor and jury each agreed with his assertion. As long as it is working, there is no reason to change it..

      1. No, under Florida’s law, the police are not allowed to investigate if you claim self-defense under stand your ground. So no, the “police, prosecutor and jury” did *not* agree with Zimmerman’s assertion because, under Florida law, Zimmerman was immune from a basic police investigation to even determine whether or not Zimmerman’s asserted fear for his life was either honest or reasonable.

        1. No, the Florida law doen NOT keep police from investigating just because the defendant claimed self defense, it disallows any further investigations once the police have determined and BELIEVE the defendant acted in self defense. Prior to stand your ground law in Florida it was common for investigations to continue and other charges to be made against the citizen even if they believed the shooting justified. People were sick of going to jail and being harassed by the system every time they defended themselves from thugs. Of course the thugs hate it….it reduces the amount of their gene pool pollution.

    12. I hope the law remains because if it is not kept then there will be little help if a civil suit is brought against the shooter. To be found not guilty in a criminal trial and have to pay a million dollars for these rightful actions is horrible.

    13. The Georgia Stand your Ground Law which after being enacted has remained the law of the State without any change what so ever. The law is clear and does not require any subjective interpretation. The law should also prevent the "defender" from being sujected to either prsecution or a civil suit.

    14. This law must be kept as written. Citizens have a right to defend themselves outside of their home as well as inside. We don't start the violence against us, we stop it.

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