Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: November 2, 2011

Senate author of Stand Your Ground Law asks advocates in
Ersland case to review facts of law

Senate author of the original Stand Your Ground law and co-author of the amended version extending protection to businesses, Sen. Harry Coates is concerned about the misinformation being promoted by advocates pushing for Jerome Ersland’s release. Advocates have stated there was a “loophole” in the law that failed to protect the rights of the pharmacist, but Coates says this is not the case.

“The Stand Your Ground Law is a good law and it protects and saves lives every day. Unfortunately, advocates for Mr. Ersland are trying to blame a so-called ‘loophole’ for his incarceration saying that it didn’t protect citizens at their places of business, which simply is not true,” said Coates, R-Seminole. “I want to ensure that other business owners have the correct facts about what the law does so they don’t act as Ersland did and find themselves in prison.”

Under the original and current version of the law, a person may use deadly force against an intruder only if he or she has “a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another”.

Coates explained that the self defense provision of the law gives citizens the right to protect themselves, but it doesn’t allow them to go as far as killing an intruder that has already become incapacitated, which is what the evidence showed Ersland did.

“The jury gave their verdict saying that Ersland’s actions didn’t meet the criteria of the Stand Your Ground law so I want to encourage these individuals to stop confusing and misleading the public regarding what actions the law allows. They should have reviewed the law thoroughly and gotten their facts straight before making such misleading statements. I don’t want the public or business owners confused about what the law allows and possibly put their own freedom at stake.”

For more information, contact:
Sen. Coates: 405-521-5547