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Bills would allow deadly force against intruders

RICHMOND – Del. Dickie Bell, (R-Staunton), is sponsoring two bills that would empower Virginians to use lethal force against an intruder in their home.

House Bill 47 would grant civil immunity to anyone who injures or kills someone while defending their home from another person who has posed a threat of injury to the other or has entered the home unlawfully.

House Bill 48 would enshrine in Virginia law the “Castle Doctrine” that about 30 other states have. The bill would allow the use of physical or deadly force in someone’s home if an intruder has committed an “overt act against him.”

Both bills have been referred to a subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee. HB 48 is scheduled for consideration by the subcommittee on Jan. 23.

Andy Goddard, director of the Virginia Center for Public Safety, said bills like Bell’s are attempting to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

“Nobody is finding themselves at the wrong end of the law. ... Nobody is being prosecuted for defending their home,” said Goddard, father of a victim of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

Both bills grant an across-the-board exemption and, according to Goddard, leave too much room for potential misuse of the law.

“What about a messy divorce? One partner invites the other over to pick up something, shoots them and then says, ‘Well, we had a messy divorce, he or she started shouting and threatening, I was afraid and I shot.’ You get away with murder,” Goddard said.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, which supports Second Amendment rights, has chosen to stay neutral on both bills. Instead, the group has asked that a state commission conduct a study before such legislation is passed.

“We think that probably that should be a more comprehensive bill,” VCDL president Philip Van Cleave said Monday at the organization’s lobby day at the state Capitol.

“Right now, Virginia law is extremely good, and we’re concerned that if it’s not done right, it can actually make it worse.”

With Republicans controlling both the House and Senate, this could be an important year for gun rights supporters.

“I think it is more in our favor than it has been in the past three or four years,” Van Cleave said. “I’m optimistic that some of the bills that have died before will probably make it this time.”

So far, legislators have introduced 36 bills that would affect state gun policy. Six of them were drafted by the VCDL.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” U.S. Senate candidate Jamie Radtke said at VCDL’s lobby day.

“Republicans say they’re conservative and say they’re for the Second Amendment. It’s easy to say that when you know things are going to get killed in committee and you’re not going to have to deal with the issues.”

The true test comes now that Republicans are in charge of the General Assembly, said Radtke, a leader in Virginia’s tea party movement. “We’ll see if they’re going to vote the way they say they believe.”


If Castle Doctrine actually protects a victim from lawsuits by the assailant’s families, I’m all for it. If it protects a homeowner from having put multiple slugs into a home intruders back? I’m not so sure. I would hope that the law, or prosecutors, will still distinguish between self-defense and unwarranted killing.
Don’t get me wrong, like a the rest of the tough talking gunslingers on this thread, I too would not hesitate to defend my home. BUT, I seriously doubt the police would find a corpse with 3 shots in his back on my property.
Oh, almost forgot.  convictedfelonsarepeopletoo? You’re a piece of crap.

Dollar, your repetitive comments, intellect and phallic fascination aren’t consistent with being “further up on the food chain”.  You sound like you’re a couple questions short of qualifying to be an 88 Mike. 

Based on that, I’m sure you feel like you’ve overachieved by living in that shitbox townhouse with the 2 story entryway, but you are not upscale as previously claimed.

The other thing that makes me question your mastery of the American political process is that you believe that having the state legislature fix the Castle Doctrine somehow prevents them from accomplishing other legislative issues.  Retard.

I know you’d love for me to come over and hold your “AK”, but I don’t swing that way.  Tell your lady to stop by my place though.  I’m more than happy to handle business for you while you’re playing GI Joe with your cheap-ass AK in your unfinished basement.

@Dollar Bill Phil - I refereed to case law if you would pay attention and not act like a child.

@Ed Meyers - Ed if someone was breaking into my home I have no idea what their intentions are, could be simple theft could be murder. I am not going to chance my life or those of my family; I will shoot an unlawful intruder and not worry about it; the person breaking the law is the one who should end up dead not the home owners; I do not want to be the next Petit family. I don’t care about my stuff, it is replaceable but my life or the life of my wife and daughter cannot just be replaced.

Ah Jerky’s feeling hurt.  Why don’t you come on by and I will let you hold my AK, that should make you feel better.  Lol

Jerk - If you are unfamiliar, Phil’s track record of posts on this site place him in the “pay no mind” category with “Laugh”.  Just more worthless drivel to skip over when reading comments.

Hey Jerk, good name, its not where you live its how you got there and you may want to look a little further up on the food chain.  Again you ignorant gunnecks and your fixation with guns probably goes to your inability to really satisfy a woman or use your hands to protect yourself.  We have more important things to worry about in this county, State and Country than gunnecks need for a viagra rush.

The crass comments about killing Hispanics does not make me feel safe giving more rights to gun owners to use their guns to exact revenge. True self defense killing is ok. Weakening the standard from retreat to stand-your-ground is not. It gives special rights to gun owners to convict and execute someone who they believe have committed a property crime.

Ed, you are also assuming that an intruder only wants your valuables.  Think of the kind of person who would unlawfully enter your home.  They are either desperate, twisted, insane, just plain evil, or a combo of the above.  The rationally thinking guy is rarely going to conclude that breaking and entering is a good idea. 

You have to assume the intruder may have any number of motives for being in your house.  Maybe he is a killer?  Rapist?  Kidnapper?  Or maybe he just needs an iPad to sell for quick cash.  Maybe you have psychic abilities to read someone’s mind, but I don’t.  I’ll assume the worst and stand ready with my weapon, as it is my right. 

All I ask for is protection from being railroaded by an overzealous prosecutor like Jim Plowman afterward.  Look at his track record and ask yourself if you feel like you’d get the benefit of the doubt.  Case law isn’t enough.

If you are worried about theft buy insurance ... Not a gun.

Again Dollar Bill Phil, you speak of what you do not know and it makes you look dumb.  I did in fact serve my country, and when I ETS’d, I went to work for a 3 letter agency for a short while.  I’m the furthest thing from a coward and have an advanced degree.  I’ve been responsibly using firearms since the mid-80’s and have been trained by the finest shooters on the planet.

Please stop making broad generalizations about an entire group of people that you do not know.  It’s dumb.  Saying that everyone that carries a weapon is whiskey tango, is no different than making derogatory comments about others based on race, religion, etc.  You’re judging without knowing and that’s called prejudice. 

Prejudice against people in any form is rarely a best practice. 

BTW, I wouldn’t brag about living in one of the gated communities.  All that means is that you have no land, a ridiculously high HOA payment and some busted ass siding on 3 sides of your house.  Belmont and River Creek aren’t pimp spots anymore.

FedUpDude, you are what we called in the military a Double D.  Look at the case law in this state if you can read.

Hey Jerk, what an appropriate moniker, that’s name for you uneducated gunnecks, I live in one of the gated community and probably have more guns than you and in Iraq and Afghanistan used them responsibly, of course your coward ass has not used them to defend your country.  Any way, if anyone enters my home and I get the drop on them, end of story.  But do we need legislation, we need jobs, road and what not.

When someone is dead it is more difficult to determine if they are the criminal or the victim. When some kills someone as last resort after attempting to retreat, that is fine with me. However a make-my-day type stand is a criminal act in my mind and indicates a fundamental disrespect for life.

What kind of people does Ed Myers think exist in this world?  According to him, everyone is a blood thirsty animal waiting to use their gun to end lives.  You’d be afraid to be a delivery person?  Do delivery people just waltz into a house in the dark without announcing themselves?  Terrible example again. 

Go ahead and let someone steal your stuff, and feel like you can’t keep cash at your home because you may get robbed.  Thanks for empowering the criminals by the way. 

I’ll stand my ground though, because I work a lot of hours for what I have.  Maybe Ed just has Mitt Romney money in the bank and doesn’t care about $374k.  Afterward would be nice if I didn’t get served with a civil suit because mother thinks her little angel would never rob someone. 

If I heard someone in my house at night I’d give them plenty warning too.  Castle Law or not.  If you rack your shotgun once and the intruder doesn’t turn around and leave, I think it is safe the say you are in danger.

Richard DiGuglielmo Jr serving life for shooting a man beating his father with a baseball bat in New York a place well known to go after people for self defense.

In Wisconsin there is a case of a man who found a thief in his home, he told the robber he was armed and he should leave, the thief advanced on the home owner and said he had a gun; the home owner fired and killed the thief. There should be no question this was self defense yet the local prosecutor is thinking of charging the home owner for not fleeing. That is messed up.

In the Sterling case why shouldn’t that man shoot and kill the intruders who were threatening his family? He was not breaking the law the thieves were.

What about the case of the young woman and her child in a mobile home with one entrance last month? Should she have let the drug addicts breaking in rape and kill her instead of shooting? Should the government go after her for defending herself?

What about the disabled vet and his wife who were 80 years old when he shot and killed an armed home invader in 2010 in Chicago? The invader even took a shot at the home owner in this case. Should they go to jail or face a civil suit?

Why do you want to protect the criminals at the expense of the citizen?

FedUpDude: And you haven’t shown a case where someone is in jail wrongly for deadly self defense. What about that Sterling guy who foolishly keept a ton of money in his home safe and shot and killed (one, wounded another) of the armed robbers who came to steal it. I would have given up the money rather than risk a shootout with innocents nearby, but the facts support that the homeowner was acting in self defense and he wasn’t prosecuted nor was there a wrongful death suit. 

Where between the Sterling Case and the Keith Washington case do you want to move the legal line?

Ed - First of all you cannot prove it would have turned out differently you can only guess. Second you have one obscure example that does not even fit your own hyperbole scenario; how about you show us more than one bad example and maybe one where you think the person got away with it.

I won’t hold my breath waiting.

Keith Washington would have gotten away with it and Clark and White’s families would have gotten nothing had White not survived *because* Maryland is a Castle Doctrine state and the presumption is with the homeowner. We don’t need more examples like Keith Washington in Virginia.

One last thing Ed, Keith Washington lived in Maryland, Maryland is a castle doctrine state so your point it totally invalid.

In addition to providing a valid defense in criminal law, many laws implementing the Castle Doctrine, particularly those with a “Stand-Your-Ground clause”, also have a clause which provides immunity from any lawsuit filed on behalf of the assailant for damages or injury resulting from the lawful use of not excessive force. Without this clause an assailant can sue for medical bills, property damage, disability, and pain and suffering as a result of the injuries inflicted by the defender, or their next-of-kin may sue for wrongful death in the case of a fatality.

In other words what castle law does for Virginians who have no duty to flee already is shield them from civil lawsuits from the family of the criminal.

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