Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Castle Doctrine In North Carolina Is Out Of Committee

SB 34, the first castle doctrine bill filed, has been reported out of the NC Senate Judiciary II committee. It will come to the floor of the State Senate as early as tomorrow.

As I discussed earlier, this bill had been criticized as not going far enough as it did not cover people in their vehicles nor did it have a "stand your ground" provision. These defects have been remedied as the Judiciary II committee adopted substitute language to strengthen the bill. It now adds both of these provisions.

Both the NRA and Grass Roots North Carolina have indicated their support and approval of the strengthened bill. The NRA released this tonight:
Earlier today, NRA-supported “Castle Doctrine” self-defense legislation was favorably amended and reported by the Senate Judiciary II Committee. The full Senate will now consider this important legislation, which could take place as early as tomorrow.

Introduced by state Senators Andrew Brock (R-34), Doug Berger (D-7) and Kathy Harrington (R-43), Senate Bill 34 would codify the “Castle Doctrine” in the home, as well as establish immunity from civil lawsuits for those who use lethal force to defend themselves or their loved ones while in their home. The bill was amended to add automobiles to the Castle Doctrine protections, as well as "Stand Your Ground" language. This greatly expands the legislation to offer more protections for law-abiding citizens who use their firearms for personal protection.

Please contact your state Senator TODAY and respectfully urge him or her to support your right to self-defense and pass Senate Bill 34 when it comes up for a vote.
From an alert sent out by Grass Roots North Carolina this evening to its members:
Under guidance from Grass Roots North Carolina, the Senate Judiciary II Committee today passed SB 34: "Castle Doctrine" in a stronger version which could ultimately create the most comprehensive such law in the country.

Thanks to the efforts of Sens. Buck Newton (R-, GRNC ****) and Andrew Brock (R-Davie/Rowan, ****), an amendment was made to the bill to incorporate most of the desirable features of HB 74, plus an added protection against crime in the workplace.

GRNC Legislative Action Team members were heavily involved in improving the language of the bill, drafting and reviewing sections, and providing information to sponsors and committee members.

Speaking on behalf of the bill were Sens. Berger, Clary, Daniel, Newton, and Tucker. Raising questions about the bill were Sens. Dannelly and McKissick. Sen. Berger initially offered an amendment to remove workplaces, but later withdrew the amendment and voted for the bill. SB 34 passed unanimously.

Improvements made to SB 34 include:
* Presumption of reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury when an attacker makes an unlawful and forcible entry not only of a home, but also a motor vehicle and a workplace. Beyond including the carjacking protection long-sought by GRNC, this may be the first law in the country to include the workplace among protected areas
* "No duty to retreat" before using deadly force in anyplace the victim has a lawful right to be.
* Protection against malicious prosecution: Police may not arrest a victim forced to use deadly force unless they have probable cause to believe the use of force was unjustified.

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