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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.

- An intruder must be making (or have made) an attempt to unlawfully or forcibly enter an occupied residence, business or vehicle.

- The intruder must be acting illegally—the Castle Doctrine does not give the right to attack, for example, officers of the law acting in the course of their legal duties

-The occupant(s) of the home must not have provoked or instigated an intrusion, or provoked or instigated an intruder to threaten or use deadly force

Keith Washington’s case does not fall into the castle doctrine.


You are once again trying to make a case fit a non existent scenario. I am sure the police are always going to investigate a case like that one which is so weird there is no comparable case.

Delivery folks are not breaking into your home and that is not what the law is designed for.


So FedUpDude, is Keith Washington your poster child example of someone defending his home who was railroaded into jail because of the lack of Castle Doctrine?

It looks to me like someone trying to use self defense as a cover for murder and almost got away with it except both victims didn’t die.

Ok. Here’s a high profile example. Keith Washington, PG County, Homeland security official, gets aggitated with a Marlow delivery crew over scratches in the furniture and guns them down. Washington claims the delivery people attack him with a pipe and he needed to defend himself. Fortunately one survives and is able to tell the real story.  (Feb 2007) 

I fear the proposed legal changes in Virginia would support Mr. Washington and leave the dead delivery people’s family with nothing but pain and sorrow.

Ed Myers could you post one example of the abuses you mention happening in any of the current castle doctrine state or an example in this state as the law already stands on the side of self defense. You seem to like what ifs, how about facts?

What is a fact is some states lacking these protections put away people for self defense.

You claim downplay, yet you are posting what ifs that have not ever happened once.

I think the gun owners are exaggerating the legal liability and downplaying the risk that someone will abuse the law.

As a supporter of 2A rights (but think retreat is almost always the better option) I say we require those who want to be covered under the Castle Doctrine to put up a blinking amber light. That way delivery people or neighbors know that the house contains someone who is willing to kill to defend their wallet.

If I was in a delivery business I would refuse service to houses with an amber light (too much liability ... my employees will sue me if they get injured or killed on the job from a castle doctrine extremist.) The occupant can come to the curb to get their pizza or sofa.

This safeguards my right not to be shot accidently in exchange for your right to shoot to defend yourself.

@Dollar Bill Phil - I don’t think protecting our good citizens from civil liability from our bad citizens is a waste of time or money. It is turning what is now a court ruling/legal precedent into State law as it should be. Also the law is not a gun law it is a self defense and home owners law that covers any form of self defense.

Fed - you got me on the Anabaptist Mennonite.  I had to go Google that one….

Dollar Bill Phil - Seems like you have all the answers.  Your mastery of macroeconomics and global trade is very impressive.  It’s a shame that your knowledge of Loudoun County is less so, and your prejudice against a large group of people of whom you do not know wreaks of arrogance.  The truth is that most of us “gun necks” in this area probably out earn you by a 5:1 ratio. 

Most of us don’t drive trucks, nor do we have red necks.  As a matter of fact, we’re not all white.  I am proud to be part of a group of responsible, law abiding citizens of all back grounds that make the choice to do everything in our power to protect our families.

Stick to macroeconomics and global trade professor.  Commenting on things you don’t know about just makes you look dumb.

Seems to me that with a statement such as this, Andy Goddard and his agenda-driven VCPS are claiming the equivalent of “I’ve never been in a car accident, I don’t need a seat belt!” Why put the person who lawfully defends them self into a legal quagmire?

““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.”

Of course you should use deadly force against an intruder seeking to harm you, your family, or your property.  These folks that think otherwise need to be victimized and then they would think twice, if they lived to tell about it.

Ignorant gunnecks at it again.  Like this is a real problem in Virginia.  Forget about jobs, crowded roads, debt, mortgage issues; let’s give them guns and let them shoot people.  I guess this must be some sort of redneck viagra program or something.  It still won’t stop the fact that they will be in the minority in 25 years or the fact that they owe the Chinese, Japanese and Suads trillions to buy those guns, pickups and houses they can’t afford.  Not to mention the Arabs and Africans making bank off selling these fools oil so that they can have that horse power.  Hopefully all this gun talk will help the redneck’s lady folk get some satisfaction, cause this law won’t mean squat in the real world.

@Jerk - Ed Myers is not a liberal but he is a pacifist; I beleive he is an Anabaptist Mennonite and they do not beleive in violence.

That would be cool to shoot people! Maybe we could have a special season on illegals, with no bag limit!

Ed Myers, you are a complete moron.  Did you read about the home invasion that occurred in Conn?  The head down, ass up strategy to folks intending to do you harm always results in one thing. 

As it stands now, if you came into my home with the intent to do harm and I shot you with my Sig229 you or more accurately, your estate could then file suit against me.  That makes sense right?

No reasonable person want to kill or injure anyone, but every reasonable person wants to do everything they can to ensure that their family is protected. 

It’s fine with me if you’re the guy that offers the bad guys a BJ in exchange for allowing you to live, but that doesn’t work for me. 

Classic Libtard thought process - “Whats best for me is best for everyone else.”

@Rick Astley - I support the castle doctrine but there is no duty in VA to retreat now; Coleman v. Commonwealth made it clear you have no duty to retreat from a sudden attack even on the street.

The Castle doctrine blocks civil suits from the family of the attacker.

Another thing: this isn’t carte blanche to waste people coming into your home. If you’re involved in a self-defense shooting, you WILL BE investigated by the police. If it’s found you didn’t act in the interest of self-defense, you’ll be prosecuted for manslaughter. All this does is prevent parasites and their families from getting their pound of flesh from you when you’re found to have acted within the spirt of the self-defense law. Opponents of Castle Doctrine typically take the side of criminals anyway. This is just a knee-jerk reaction on their part.

@Long Time…
No, you don’t have the right. What you have, in this state, is the Duty to Retreat. If someone breaks into your home, it is YOUR DUTY to retreat to somewhere in your home. Like your Safe Room. Oh, don’t have one? Too bad! And if some huge thugs are brutalizing your family (but not killing them and are unarmed)? Sorry, you still can’t use deadly force, since the perps are not threatening lives. Just brutalizing them.

The real reason Castle Doctrine got buried in VA is because Saslaw and Marsh killed all the bills so that their “constituents” wouldn’t get their heads taken off during home invasions.

See: Maryland.

“Nobody is finding themselves at the wrong end of the law. ... Nobody is being prosecuted for defending their home,” said Goddard, . . .”
Citizens can’t depend upon the good will of whoever is in power, which is the current situation here - that’s one reason the Constitution was written, to codify rights.

“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.
Sound like the “Wild West” and “Roadrage” arguments used against CCW. These antis always come up with a lot of lame “What ifs?”. Just to name one of many, Colorado passed their “Make My Day Law” 20+ years ago. So far, no mass murder is happening in homes. Divorcees or otherwise.

I always love the hyperbole of not using weapons. I took martial arts from a Korean War and Vietnam War veteran who was special forces in the later war. He said always said “never fight a man with a gun drown on you its not worth it” and he also said “anyone who throws away a weapon to even the fight is a fool; this is not a movie or a game it is your life”

@Mama said knock you out : “real men don’t use weapons”. Let me guess, you’ll just use you martial arts skills against an armed intruder, right? Because you are a real man who doesn’t need a gun. Spoken like a guy who’s never been in a real fight.Let me enlighten you, there is always someone out there who can hand you your a$$ in a fight. Guess they don’t teach you that in your Brazillian Jiu Jitsu class.  Good luck!

Ed Myers is one of those people who thinks in idealism and not realism. I don’t want to ever kill anyone in my life time but it you come into my home with ill intent I will not hesitate to put you down; in a you or me situation it will be me every time.

Castle doctrine is a good law, many states including many in the north have adopted it; Massachusetts has it now after so many cases of locking up home owners for defending themselves in the 80s; no one should ever got to jail for self defense that is crasy.

So far there are no know cases of abuse people have predicted. It is the same nonsense as the blood in the streets anti gun crowd has been predicting for years and yet in 20 years our murder rate has reduced by half.

As to the divorce scenario people try that now and never get away with it.

Oh boy! I’m polishing up my Striker 12. Those pesky Mormons better watch out!

ed myers - what a silly argument. If your doors are locked, a neighbor can’t accidentally stumble in.

Property should not be protected under a Castle Doctrine, but LIFE should. It would be foolish for somebody to kill over a person trying to steal their lawnmower in the shed. But if they broke into your home, that would be a clear threat that you should have every right to defend against.

Virginians should have the right to protect their property.  If somebody breaks into my house I should be able to use deadly force because if you break in you are up to no good.

You do have to wonder what’s up with the republican controlled senate and house in Richmond.  I guess the new rule is, blast away with your AK-47s, until the barrel melts, and be happy, happy, happy.  What a world.  As many have suggested, I sure don’t want to be that pizza delivery person.

I like the idea of this law because it helps me protect my family but… (and there is always a but).

If this passes ... make sure you know a person well before going in their home. Because if they want to knock you off, they’ll have the perfect legal “get-out-of-jail” free card.

This is why I don’t prescribe to any political party.  Everyone is nuts.  Even in an “educated” area like Loudoun County.

I’m amazed that people still think homosexuals have an “agenda” to “convert” your children, and they want nothing more than to molest your child.

I’m also amazed people still think that all legal gun owners have their finger on the trigger waiting for the chance to kill someone.  Or that they are involved with random shootings on a daily basis. 

I own a firearm to protect myself if needed.  Personally, I would hate to ever use it against someone, and if I did, you better believe I felt my life was in danger.  Making the law clearly states that I won’t be going to jail or being sued by some criminal’s mother won’t increase the chance I use deadly force on someone.  It just makes it so I am not the victim if I were subject to a crime. and forced to take drastic measures. 

Plenty of states of “Castle Laws”.  You don’t find a bunch of spouses killing each other and saying “oops, thought he/she was an intruder”, and you don’t see guys with sniper rifles watching their front yard.  Again, this is about as ridiculous as saying legal gun owners who carry concealed regularly use their firearms to commit crimes or accidentally shoot random people while out.

I’m just amazed at the blinders people put on.  Do some research people.  You’ll probably find yourself shaking your head at the extremes of each side like me.

You forget to lock your door. A neighbor comes home and stumbles in thinking it is his house.  Why should you be able to shoot and kill him without first determining that he intended harm?

Supporters sound like psychos looking for a loophole so they can get their jollies off of killing people.

Is it just me, or do the majority of Republicans seem to have a fascination with guns and killing?  Just saying!  You don’t need this bill.  If someone breaks into your home and threatens your life, you have the right to defend yourself already.

real men don’t use weapons

I fully support these bills! Try shooting someone in your house under current Virginia law and you may find yourself charged with manslaughter.

The few of you who cry foul and dream up unrealistic scenarios every time the government tries to protect the rights of the rest of us should sit back and take a long look at reality.

How is this a “problem that doesn’t exist”? Burglary doesn’t exist? Home invasions don’t exist? Rape doesn’t exist? Where do you live that these problems are non-existent?

Reminds me of a South Park episode where the Uncle takes the boys hunting…. “HE’S COMING RIGHT FOR US !!!!”  as he has bambi in the crosshairs.  lol

@Tom, Mozambique Drill anyone?

Somebody breaks into my house it’s only for an unlawful reason to start with and I should have the right to take any and all actions to stop him in his tracks.  If that means deadly force, so be it.  He’s not there by my invitation to start with.

@Ed, the intruder, robber, rapist are the ones that are reckless with human life. Feel free to run and hide. There are some of us who wish to live life without fear of harm.

You go ahead and retreat, Ed. I’m putting two center mass.

Awesome!!! Now criminals will think twice before breaking and entering.

Does this guy know Delgaudio?  Creating a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist - probably to raise fear and money.

Easy resolution… The intruder yelled a threatening remark and came towards me. You better hit center mass and about 10 feet away!

The pro-life position is to always retreat without using deadly force if at all possible. The stand-your-ground crowd are reckless with human life and want legal cover to get away with it.

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