Defend Yourself, It’s O.K.!Law Enforcement . News . Profiles . Self-Defense
While the rest of the world is giving up there right to defend themselves against criminals and their government, here is the U.S.A. many are moving to expand the rights of citizens to protect themselves. Four bills pending in the Mississippi Legislature would broaden the right for people to shoot trespassers in their homes, cars or businesses. Senate Judiciary A Committee Chairman Charlie Ross, R-Brandon, who co-authored Senate Bill 2426, said the legislation will take the burden of proof off of victims of burglaries or carjackings who use deadly force. “Anytime someone threatens you or attacks you, you do not have to retreat, you can stand your ground,” Ross said. Sen. Ralph Doxey, R-Holly Springs, co-author of the bill, said the legislation also will protect people from civil lawsuits.
Three similar pieces of legislation are pending in the Mississippi House. None of the bills has made it out of committee in either chamber, but having 30 co-sponsors on Senate Bill 2426 suggests it has strong support. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, said he probably will support the bill, but said the changes are not as sweeping as the bill’s proponents advertise. “In theory, it sounds like a dramatic change in the law,” Bryan said. “In practice, I don’t think there will be much difference from what already happens in the real world.”
Critics of the legislation, which is patterned after a Florida law passed last year, say the current law is enough to protect those who use deadly force in self-defense.
Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said his organization supports a homeowner’s right to defend his life, but believes this bill, like its predecessor in Florida, goes too far. Hamm specifically pointed out a provision that protects someone from prosecution “in a place where the person has a right to be,” meaning any public place. He says the provision is too broad and gives “empowerment to the most aggressive people in society.” “This is a potentially dangerous solution to a nonexistent problem,” Hamm said. “There are not hordes of people in jail for acting in legitimate self-defense. Police and judges and prosecutors are very good at sorting out what’s self-defense and what’s not.”
Clay Joyner, president of the Mississippi Prosecutors Association, agrees, though he applauded legislators’ efforts to respond to constituents’ concerns about personal safety. Upon initial inspection of the Senate bill, Joyner said he worries the language is too broad and doesn’t allow the system to sort out which situations legitimately call for deadly force. “In some situations of self-defense, retreat is a more reasonable option,” Joyner said. “That kind of determination is traditionally the province of a jury.”
Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson, said his version of the bill, House Bill 369, came from constituents who have experienced crime in their neighborhoods and want the right to protect themselves. “These are not crazy people. They are just people who are fed up with crime,” Denny said. Tom Ballard, security chief for a neighborhood association in Denny’s district, said his street was hit with a string of burglaries last month. One neighbor fired a gun into the air to scare the men off. Ballard said his neighbors are afraid not only of criminals but also of the danger of getting in trouble for protecting themselves. Ballard conceded regrettable situations might crop up if the bill passes but said he hopes the law, if enacted, will be applied responsibly. “It would not be smart to go around breaking into cars up and down our street if someone is able to shoot you for doing that,” Ballard said. “If such a law existed, they might not have done it.” The pro-gun National Rifle Association lauded the bill’s introduction.
“Mississippi courts have consistently recognized the ‘stand your ground’ principle—both inside and outside the home—since the late 1800s,” said NRA lobbyist Chris W. Cox. “The full burden of the criminal justice system should fall on the criminal and not on the victim, and this bill would codify it into law.”
I want to applaud these efforts. Groups like the Brady Campaign amaze me they ignore the data that shows that gun control leads to higher crime and violent death rates. While laws such as these lower the crime rate and decrease violent crime, Florida stands as a glowing example of this. Yet despite this and other evidence people oppose the rights of individuals to protect themselves. These people are typically ignorant and have never been the victim of a crime or criminal type. Hopefully this trend will continue, expand and silence groups like the Brady foundation/campaign! Martial Arts save people from suffering at the hands of criminals and increase the occurrence of Justice. Guns and weapons of Martial Arts and as such are as good as the person using them. Most people in this world are law abiding citizens that simply want to live in peace and happiness, if this is true then having a gun only helps to insure this is possible.
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