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HB 1439 expands state’s ‘Make My Day’ law to businesses

(News Star) - An expansion of the state’s “Make My Day” law now gives business owners and employees at businesses the right to use deadly force when there’s a fear of death.

Before HB 1439 went into effect Tuesday, 11/1/2011, state law allowed individuals to use deadly force against intruders in their homes. The new addition to the law states that an owner, manager of or employee of a business, with a reasonable fear of death or imminent death, would have the right to use deadly force if threatened.

When signing the bill into law in May, Gov. Mary Fallin said passage of the measure was a victory for law-abiding Oklahomans and gun owners and a defeat for the criminals who would threaten them.

Scott Tucker, a pharmacist at Ralph’s Pharmacy in Tecumseh, was involved in an incident there last year when a suspect on a crime spree held up the pharmacy to get prescription pain killers.

Tucker favors the new law and hopes it will help law-abiding citizens and deter the would-be thieves.

“Maybe it’ll make them think twice before doing something stupid,” Tucker said, adding everybody should have the right to protect themselves.

Tucker, who had a gun on the day of the crime spree, still has one behind the counter, he said, but he hopes that his gun “does nothing but collect dust.”

Pharmacist David Nicklas, who really wasn’t aware of the new law, said he has no intention of having a firearm at Harrison Discount Pharmacy.

While he is in favor of the right to bear arms, “We don’t do guns here...I don’t have any need for it,” he said.

With other security measures already in place, Nicklas said they let police handle any issues.

Phil Hartoon, owner of Hartoon’s Jewelers in Shawnee, supports the new law, although not much is changing for him.

Hartoon, who experienced a robbery at his business more than 25 years ago, said that event forever changed him. For years, he has carried a gun with a concealed carry permit and said he wouldn’t hesitate using it to save his life or any employee’s life, but added he’s also not going to do anything to create a harmful situation.

Hartoon said the new law is protection on his side as a business owner.

“I support it 110 percent — it’s a step in the right direction,” he said, adding every business owner should have the right to protect themselves.

While he’s not so sure the new law will truly be a deterrent for criminals who oftentimes have their own firearms, he’s hopeful it might make a difference.

The state’s “Make My Day” law began in the 1980s. In 2006, lawmakers passed legislation that expanded self-defense rights from the home to other places, including someone else’s home, a vehicle or a street corner, with that law often referred to as “Stand Your Ground.”

Uploaded: 11/6/2011