August 23, 2019

HB 16-1023: Allowing the Use of Deadly Physical Force by Business Owners Against Intruders

On January 13, 2016, Rep. Everett and Sen. Lambert introduced HB 16-1023Concerning the Use of Deadly Physical Force Against a Person Who Has Made an Illegal Entry Into a Place of Business. The bill was assigned to the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

This bill introduces amendments to an already existing bill, extending the right to use deadly force against an intruder under certain conditions to include owners, managers, and employees of businesses.

There are a number of proposed amendments to C.R.S. § 18-1-704.5, “Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.” First, under subsection (1), instead of the statute stating that citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes, the amended statute will state that absolute safety is expected within citizen’s dwellings and places of business.

Second, under subsection (2), it is proposed that the statute include that not only any occupant of a dwelling be justified in using any degree of physical force, but also any owner, manager, or employee of a place of business. Additionally, “place of business” has been proposed to be included where deadly force may be used against a person who has made an unlawful entry. “The owner, manager, or employee” is also proposed to be included in the statute where those persons have a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed by the person making an unlawful entry into the place of business.

Third, owners, managers, and employees of a place of business are proposed to be included under subsection (3) and (4) of the statute, making those persons immune from criminal prosecution and civil liability if deadly force is used in accordance with subsection (2) of the statute.

Lastly, it has been proposed to amend C.R.S. § 18-1-705, “Use of Physical Force in Defense of Premises,” to read “he or she” and “himself or herself” instead of referring only to males.

Mark Proust is a 2016 J.D. candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.