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Castle Doctrine, SYG, Under Multi-Front Attack

The Democrats are already getting to work in Florida to repeal Stand Your Ground. The Republicans seem to be taking a wait and see approach, but don’t count on them. At least one columnist for the Palm Beach Post thinks repeal is unlikely. Meanwhile, a Democratic State Representative is assaulting our considerably more limited SYG law, and it’s abundantly clear he knows nothing about self-defense law either before or after castle doctrine passed here.

We must never allow another state-sanctioned tragedy like this. Pennsylvania must revisit its Castle Doctrine law and take steps to get guns off our streets.

Prior to Gov. Tom Corbett signing the legislation into law last year, Pennsylvania allowed citizens the right to use deadly force, if necessary, against introducers in their “castle” or home.

The new law allows the use of deadly force in other places, such as a car or public street, and does not require the person to retreat before shooting.

I find it terrifying that we have enacted legislation that condones untrained civilians shooting someone in our streets. It’s the wrong direction for Pennsylvania.

So according to Rep. Waters, Pennsylvanians should have no right to self-defense anywhere but in the home? Even the United Kingdom doesn’t go so far in its deviation from traditional common law on this matter. The Pennsylvania constitution, which is the title of our blog, protects the right to bear arms in defense of self, one wonders whether Rep. Waters believes that constitutional provision, which he took an oath to uphold, ought to have any meaning at all. He’s not the only one, however. The York Daily Record is also editorializing:

Florida law allows people to use deadly force – with no responsibility to try to retreat to safety if possible – if they feel threatened.

This is a blatant falsehood. One wonders whether this editorial was written by the Daily Record, or submitted to them by MAIG or CeaseFirePA. They go on to suggest that it couldn’t happen here, but fail to acknowledge that Zimmerman would still have a self-defense claim here, even under the pre-Castle Doctrine law. Philadelphia Weekly has an interview with Rep. Metcalfe on Castle Doctrine. I’m surprised by even how much of the case he gets wrong. Pennsylvania Castle Doctrine wouldn’t protect Zimmerman based on the facts that we know about the case, no matter who’s claim you believe. The thing is, Florida SYG/CD has nothing to do with this case either. It does is not relevant based on the facts.

6 Responses to “Castle Doctrine, SYG, Under Multi-Front Attack”

  1. PT says:

    “It does is not relevant based on the facts.”

    Since when have facts mattered in the Zimmerman/Martin case? This is just the media pouncing on an opportunity to attack laws that they hate.

    • St Marks says:

      What’s clear is, whatever happens, politicians and their racist supporters will use it to advance their career and take away the rights of others.

      If a cake falls out of the sky, they will use that as the reason to ban guns.

  2. Cato Institute is planning some sort of conference on Stand Your Ground laws on April 23. I’ll be there.

  3. Kevin Highland says:

    Duty to Retreat or No Duty to Retreat? If when being accosted I’m required to retreat this further increases my risk of grave bodily harm. Given that simple fact, I would think that Duty to Retreat infringes my right to self-defense.

    Ultimately when self defense is claimed figuring out who was the aggressor would answer the question of who was justified in standing their ground

    That said of course this logical choice will be totally disregarded by the media and the anti 2nd amendment groups.

  4. I confess that my perspective on duty to retreat is not terribly absolute. I can see a legitimate argument on both sides.

    Think of all the stupid things you did as a teenager, and ask yourself, if some aggressive teenager getting argumentative and pushy meant that someone shot and killed him, it would be pretty horrifying, wouldn’t it? I don’t mean, knocked someone to the ground, smashing the victim’s head into the ground, but just pushing and yelling, punching someone in the chest sort of aggression. Such a punk might well grow up, mature, and become a perfectly decent adult (especially after 30 days in jail for battery). I have known people who were like that, and grew up.

    There is certainly a point where a society becomes so ugly and so miserable that it may make sense to put everyone on notice that this sort of punkish behavior may get you killed. Florida isn’t Idaho. I don’t think I would be very enthused about Idaho passing such a law, but I can see why it might make sense in uncivilized places.

    • Harold says:

      I see two issues here: on who is the burden of proving or disproving self-defense, and then Duty to Retreat vs. SYG. Ah, I suppose there’s also a 3rd of civil litigation afterwords.

      While I live in state where we have to assume a Duty to Retreat and our crystal clear Castle Doctrine has been judicially nullified, it’s still the case that once self-defense has claimed the burden of proof shifts to the prosecution.

      However, having recently learned a whole lot about Florida’s statutory law, wouldn’t it be the case that even with their SYG law the above punk couldn’t be legitimately met with deadly force? That while you’re not required to retreat from him (and even in a Duty to Retreat state it could be iffy to prove you could do so with 100% safety), his violence has not risen to the level where a healthy, non-elderly adult would be in legitimate fear of his life.

      That’s a narrow determination, though, depending very much on his limiting his worse violence to strikes to the “chest”, which I wonder about the likelihood of. Above or below they can get disabling, where the next strike could put you at his very questionable mercy. How often does that happen? Not often as I recall from the battery cases that are reported here in Joplin, MO, a town the size of Sanford but with significantly less violence, despite our mining town heritage. (Don’t ask me about about properly crime rate, though, although maybe that’s high because reporting it is worth it, the local police will try to solve it. Might also be high because of (Willie) Sutton’s law.)

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