Legislature OKs bill protecting Utahns who use force against intruders

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HB129 • The Utah Senate approved a bill Friday that would protect homeowners who use force from lawsuits for injuring home invaders.

Currently, the homeowner can be liable if the intruder can prove he or she did not plan to commit a felony. Under HB129, which passed the Senate unanimously, injured parties would have to show that their actions did not constitute a crime.

"Assume someone is breaking into your home, they're entering illegally, and I have to say, 'Hold it, before I can do you harm because you're threatening myself or my family, I have to determine if you're going to commit a felony,' " said Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, explaining the bill.

During discussion of the bill on Thursday, Bramble pointed to an incident that morning in which a homeowner shot and killed a man who had broken into the family's Springville home as an example of the need to act.

Bramble added an amendment to the bill on Friday that would allow HB129 to take effect immediately. It now goes back to the House for a vote on the amendment.

Robert Gehrke