Friday, January 16, 2009

The Castle Doctrine and Law Enforcement

The Montana Legislature is considering SB 95 which will change the law to allow that a resident does not have to flee first to avoid an intruder, but may instead use "deadly force" to protect themselves and others in the house. There is a companion bill that would allow damages for any employer who created a gun free zone where individuals who are law abiding are not allowed to bring personal protection with them, and some lunatic decides to ignore the gun free requirement, and starts to shoot up the place. Personally, I am in favor of both of these bills. It is the ambiguity of being caught that stops more crimes than not. Contrast the Appalachian Law School shootings with those of the Virginia Tech Massacre and you will notice the difference was that in the former case, there were students who were armed, and in the latter, they were all at the mercy of the gunman.
But the problem I see, is when law enforcement officers start to break into the wrong house, and the owner, not knowing that they are law enforcement, sensing the violence at his doors, begins to shoot. Don't think that it hasn't happened. Look at Cory Maye, who may still be sentenced to death for shooting a cop who was breaking into the wrong house. Or Ryan Frederick, who is facing charges for a bogus tip that led to the death of a detective, trying to invade a house to determine if marijuana really was being grown there.
Might just give law enforcement pause to think before they start to batter down doors and terrorizing innocent victims of their mistakes.

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