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NRA_guy
11-05-2007, 05:05
Pretty good article in today's Clarion-Ledger:

Advocates: Castle doctrine puts power in victims' hands
# Shootings in Jackson have renewed debate
By Chris Joyner
chris.joyner@jackson.gannett.com

The Clarion-Ledger

Kathy Adkins shoots under the watch of firearms instructor Cliff Cargill of Byram. Adkins said she began taking the course after several friends became crime victims.



RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE

The castle doctrine allows the use of deadly force against an intruder without first seeking a safe retreat.

Twenty states, including Mississippi, have passed castle doctrine laws in just the last two years.

The FBI reported 241 justifiable homicides by private citizens in 2006, a 23 percent increase over the previous year.

Kathy Adkins moved from target to target, using a .38 revolver and a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with deadly efficiency, putting holes in the dead center of paper targets meant to look like people.

ON THE BOOKS

States with castle doctrine laws:

# South Carolina

# Georgia

# Florida

# Alabama

# Mississippi

# Louisiana

# Tennessee

# Kentucky

# Indiana

# Michigan

# North Dakota

# South Dakota

# Kansas

# Oklahoma

# Texas

# Arizona

# Alaska

# Idaho

# Missouri

# Maine

Source: The National Rifle Association

Adkins, 48, owns a real estate firm in Jackson and has been taking firearms training since March. Instructor Cliff Cargill said he has had many new students since the Legislature passed a bill last year giving residents expanded legal rights to protect themselves in their homes, cars or businesses.

The so-called "castle doctrine" law removes the requirement that residents must first seek a safe retreat from an intruder before using deadly force. Similar laws have passed in 20 states in just two years, thanks to an intense lobbying effort by the National Rifle Association.

"Citizens' homes are no longer their castles," NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre said. "And we want to make sure that in America the right to self-defense continues to exist and that the American citizen's home remains his castle."

Adkins said the law is a "godsend" for people fed up with feeling helpless to protect themselves against criminals. Last month, one of her neighbors was robbed at gunpoint.

With the new law, Adkins said she feels empowered to protect herself or her family from an intruder before it is too late.

"In the past, you had to wait until you were attacked," she said. "When I enter a state that doesn't have a castle doctrine law, I don't feel as safe."

While Mississippi's castle doctrine law was met with wide popular acclaim in this conservative, gun-friendly state, a spate of shootings in the capital has renewed public discussion.

In one week in late September and early October, four Jackson homeowners fired shots at four alleged burglars. Two of the alleged intruders, 21-year-old Jerrod Peters and 20-year-old Kenneth Stewman, were killed. The homeowners in those shootings have not been identified by police except for 28-year-old Fredrico Hamblin, who because of a prior felony record is the only one to face criminal charges.

Jackson Police spokesman Cmdr. Lee Vance said he does not know whether the homeowners had ever heard of the law before they squeezed the trigger.

"I'm sort of curious about it myself," he said. "There are a lot of people who go through life and don't watch the news or pick up a newspaper."

They certainly are aware of it now, since many local news accounts of the shootings mentioned the castle doctrine, he said.

"Whether it was a factor in that homeowner's thinking or not, it's getting a lot of credit," he said.

Credit for the law is being extended in shootings in other states as well.

In September, popular Dallas musician Carter Albrecht was shot and killed when he tried to kick in the door where his girlfriend's neighbor lives. The neighbor, who shot through a door and hit Albrecht in the head, has not been charged.

A number of convicted murders are attempting to get their cases reheard by claiming the castle doctrine laws in their states should retroactively apply to them.

Arizona lawmakers passed a bill this summer allowing the state's 2006 castle doctrine statute to apply in earlier cases, but Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed the bill on the grounds it would reopen too many cases.

Advocates for retired Arizona school teacher Grant Fish were behind the measure. Fish was convicted in 2004 of shooting a hiker Fish said attacked him on a rural trail.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence opposed the laws, and spokesman Peter Hamm said they buck a long trend in American law toward reduced public violence dating to the taming of the West.

"As a system of laws, we have always acted first and foremost to discourage people from taking a life," he said. "There are profound human policy efforts at play in these statutes."

Hamm said the laws trivialize human life.

"Do we want to kill every 16-year-old kid we find stealing a car stereo?" he said.

The Brady Campaign is keeping a list of shootings they believe to be inspired by castle doctrine laws or prosecutions complicated by them.

In one 2006 Kentucky case, where James Adam Clem beat to death a man whom he owed drug money, prosecutors opted to offer him manslaughter plea because Clem claimed he felt threatened by the man after he let him into his apartment. Prosecutors said they feared the state's castle doctrine law could confuse a jury.

LaPierre said critics like the Brady Campaign are using the same fear tactics tried when the NRA pushed for right-to-carry laws at the state level two decades ago.

When Florida's castle doctrine law went into effect in 2005, the Brady Campaign issued a news release advising tourists going to the state not to "argue unnecessarily with local people" and to "keep your hands in plain sight" if they got involved in a traffic accident.

Castle doctrine laws move the law back onto the side of crime victims by not requiring them to look for an alternative to self-defense when faced with an intruder in the dark of night, LaPierre said.

Retreat "may sound fine at a cocktail party sipping wine and cheese," he said. "But it doesn't work very well for crime victims at the point of attack."

LaPierre said the organization will not rest until every state has a similar statute on the books. Some states, including New Mexico and Maryland, turned back castle doctrine bills, but those have been the exception.

LaPierre said the laws target what the NRA sees as an international trend toward criminalizing the principal of self-defense.

Most European countries already have much tougher gun control laws than any American state. LaPierre and other gun advocates point to a 2006 United Nations human rights report that equivocates on the individual's right to own guns for self-defense as evidence of a creeping international movement to disarm citizens around the world.

It may be too early to see whether the laws have an appreciable impact on justifiable shootings. FBI statistics show 241 justifiable homicides by private citizens in 2006, a 23 percent increase over the prior year, but that is less than the 247 killed in 2003 before the NRA push began.

Overall, Department of Justice records show a 13 percent decrease in justifiable homicides over the past decade.

George Washington University law professor Robert Cottrol said the castle doctrine statutes are more of an incremental change than either side of the gun control debate admits.

Realistically, prosecutors across the nation were not eager to prosecute people who truly acted in self-defense, no matter where they were.

"There is fundamental feeling on the part of many that the aggressor should not profit and the person who is defending should not be held in legal jeopardy," he said.

trbaldridge
11-05-2007, 10:49
Here is something for discussion.

When I took the TN Concealed Carry course at Rangemaster in Memphis a while back the instructor mentioned how the laws in TN were such that if they only find out you have a concealed weapon when you use it to stop a felony, you will not be charged with having that weapon.

Since I don't live up there I didn't pay as close attention as I should have, but as I understood it, you don't have to take your pistol out of you pocket when you go into a bank or a bar in TN, you just have to make sure that you don't let anyone find out about it unless you use need to stop a felony. Now, if you go to a bar and get arrested for being in a fight and they find a gun, you still have a gun charge on top of all the others. I believe he even used an example of a cabbie with a felony conviction stopped a guy from robbing him with a gun and he was not brought up on weapons charges and the would be robber went to jail.

Anyone know any more about this law and if it would be a good thing to push in MS?

terry

Ballyhoo
11-05-2007, 15:28
Thanks Terry. I am not sure exactly what the TN law is, but I have studied it some since I am there so often with my business. I will do some research on that and post it. Sounds like a great addition to the law to me. The same article is supposed to be in USA Today with a couple of additions this week. Chris Joyner thinks it may be tomorrow.

NRA_guy
11-06-2007, 03:51
In Mississippi, I think you would be in trouble for saving your life with an illegal gun. (It would be illegal to carry in a bank, bar, school, etc.)

Note the article I quoted above said, "In one week in late September and early October, four Jackson homeowners fired shots at four alleged burglars. Two of the alleged intruders, 21-year-old Jerrod Peters and 20-year-old Kenneth Stewman, were killed. The homeowners in those shootings have not been identified by police except for 28-year-old Fredrico Hamblin, who because of a prior felony record is the only one to face criminal charges."

They charged the guy because he was not supposed to have a gun---even though he was saving himself with it.

trbaldridge
11-08-2007, 07:21
In Mississippi, I think you would be in trouble for saving your life with an illegal gun. (It would be illegal to carry in a bank, bar, school, etc.)



The fellow teaching the class phrased it as, "and you guys in MS are not to this point yet." So, no we don't have that law. And as far as banks go, that is federal law anyway, isn't it? I doubt a state law would trump a federal law. I very well might have been off by saying that to begin with.

And as Ballyhoo plans to do, I would study up on the laws in TN before testing anything I have said here.

terry

NoloContendere
11-08-2007, 17:18
Hey Guys,

Banks are not off limits per MS Law, nor per federal law. Banks, for the most part, are private institutions that are just *insured* by the Feds. It's not illegal to carry a gun in one in MS unless it's specifically posted pursuant to MS Statute 45-9-101.

NoloContendere
11-08-2007, 17:20
In Tennessee, unless the law has been changed in the past year, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon in an establishment that serves alcohol. Period!

In MS, you can carry in an establishment that serves alcohol, as long as you are out of the portion of the establishment where alcohol is primarily served. Per MS 45-9-101.

IANAL... but have studied firearms laws in MS extensively.

Lobo
11-11-2007, 14:56
Anyone have a link to the MS Castle Dcotrine?

NoloContendere
11-11-2007, 17:20
Anyone have a link to the MS Castle Dcotrine?

http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2006/html/SB/2400-2499/SB2426PS.htm

Here is SB 2426- which amends 97-3-15, and is referred to as the "Castle Doctrine"

Lobo
11-11-2007, 18:21
Thanks.

Chris