Friday, June 24, 2011

H.R.2252 -- Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2011

The text of HR 2252 - Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2011 - is below.

The key section of the bill is Section 3. It asserts that individuals have the right to obtain a firearm for self-defense (unless otherwise prohibited) and to use that firearm in the defense of self, family, and home. To enforce this legal right, the individual has the right to sue in U.S. District Court for both damages and injunctive relief from any Federal, state, or local governmental body or individual who violates this right to self-defense.

I think I was wrong to speculate that this was a Federal castle doctrine in a post yesterday. This bill does not go that far and does not include the legal presumption that an attacker means to cause you grievous bodily injury or death. That said, it does enshrine the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense as decided in D.C. v. Heller and gives the individual the means to protect that right in Federal court.

1st Session

H. R. 2252

To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.


June 21, 2011

Mr. Bartlett (for himself, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Posey, Mr. Burton of Indiana, Mr. Latta, Mr. Calvert, Mr. Hall, Mr. Duncan of Tennessee, Mr. Marchant, Mr. Mica, Mr. McCotter, Mr. Ross of Florida, Mrs. Miller of Michigan, Mr. Forbes, Mr. Brooks, Mr. Gingrey of Georgia, Mr. Flores, Mr. Franks of Arizona, and Mrs. Schmidt) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2011”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

The Congress finds the following:

(1) Police cannot protect, and are not legally liable for failing to protect, individual citizens, as evidenced by the following:

(A) The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general. For example, in Warren v. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981), the court stated: “[C]ourts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community.”.

(B) Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help to Dade County authorities.

(C) The United States Department of Justice found that, in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence for which police had not responded within 1 hour.

(2) Citizens frequently must use firearms to defend themselves, as evidenced by the following:

(A) Every year, more than 2,400,000 people in the United States use a gun to defend themselves against criminals—or more than 6,500 people a day. This means that, each year, firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.

(B) Of the 2,400,000 self-defense cases, more than 192,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse.

(C) Of the 2,400,000 times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, 92 percent merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8 percent of the time, does a citizen kill or wound his or her attacker.

(3) Law-abiding citizens, seeking only to provide for their families' defense, are routinely prosecuted for brandishing or using a firearm in self-defense. For example:

(A) In 2001, a grand jury had to rule on the case of 2 brothers that used firearms to protect their lives and their livelihood for their involvement in a fatal shooting in Reisterstown, Maryland. The grand jury decided not to press criminal charges. The brothers, at the time, had encountered several burglaries at their concrete business. The brothers spent the night in their warehouse armed with shotguns. One night at 1:00 in the morning the burglars returned and the brothers shot and killed 1 burglar and injured 2 of the others. The 2 injured men were charged with burglary and 2 others were charged with burglary in connection with burglaries that had occurred in a previous month at the brother’s warehouse. Burglary is known to be a violent crime and the brothers were particularly worried when they realized a gun of theirs had been stolen in a previous break-in.

(B) In 2008, a Waukegan, Illinois, store clerk shot and injured a robber. According to news reports, there was potential the clerk could face criminal charges, even though he acted in self-defense. The store clerk did not have a firearm owner’s identification card and would be charged with a State firearms violation. Additionally, Illinois law does not allow employees to carry a gun in a place of business. Rather, the law only allows individuals to carry a gun in a place of business if that individual is the owner or has proprietary interest.

(C) In September 2009, a Lithonia homeowner from Dekalb County, Georgia, was charged with aggravated assault after he shot someone who was trying to knock down the door of his home as an attempt to break into the residence. According to the neighbors, there had been trouble in the neighborhood before. A police spokesperson said the homeowner was charged because the robber was technically not inside the home. The suspected robber was charged with attempted burglary.

(D) In January 2004, Wilmette, Illinois, police charged and convicted a homeowner with misdemeanors for owning 2 handguns and violating the village handgun ban ordinance. The homeowner was also faced with a potential $750 fine for failing to renew his Illinois firearm owner’s identification card. These charges were brought after he shot a home intruder. The resident stated, “My Plan A is to call 911 and keep the family upstairs … But my Plan B is to have a loaded firearm and put a bullet in the intruder.” The intruder entered the house 2 times, once through a dog door and the second time with a stolen house key. The homeowner had just put his children to bed when his security system was set off. The homeowner went downstairs and confronted and shot the intruder. The intruder jumped through a window and stole the family’s car to go to the hospital. The intruder was charged with 2 counts of residential burglary and 1 count of possession of a stolen vehicle.

(4) The courts have granted immunity from prosecution to police officers who use firearms in the line of duty. Similarly, law-abiding citizens who use firearms to protect themselves, their families, and their homes against violent felons should not be subject to lawsuits by the violent felons who sought to victimize them.

SEC. 3. Right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home; enforcement.

(a) Reaffirmation of right.—A person not prohibited from receiving a firearm by section 922(g) of title 18, United States Code, shall have the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms—

(1) in defense of self or family against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury;

(2) in defense of self or family in the course of the commission by another person of a violent felony against the person or a member of the person's family; and

(3) in defense of the person's home in the course of the commission of a felony by another person.

(b) Firearm defined.—As used in subsection (a), the term “firearm” means—

(1) a shotgun (as defined in section 921(a)(5) of title 18, United States Code);

(2) a rifle (as defined in section 921(a)(7) of title 18, United States Code); or

(3) a handgun (as defined in section 10 of Public Law 99–408).

(c) Enforcement of right.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—A person whose right under subsection (a) is violated in any manner may bring an action in any United States district court against the United States, any State, or any person for damages, injunctive relief, and such other relief as the court deems appropriate.
(2) AUTHORITY TO AWARD A REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEE.—In an action brought under paragraph (1), the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs.

(3) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.—An action may not be brought under paragraph (1) after the 5-year period that begins with the date the violation described in paragraph (1) is discovered.


  1. Sounds good to me. I can't wait until I hear the squealing from the antis.

    Something to bear in mind. Federal case law does not recognize the "duty to retreat." It might not be a Castle law, but it certainly has some features of one.

  2. The right to sue is huge. It would cover a lot of questions about standing. I don't see this as a nod to castle doctrine, but more of an attack on places like MA, NY, and Chicago that place onerous restrictions on firearm ownership.

  3. John, Where'd you find the text? I'd like to point my Representative, Renee Ellmers to this and ask her to co-sponsor.

  4. Ok, I was close. Shall-issue for purchase if you aren't a federal prohibited person. More interestingly, this is a requirement to grant right to carry. If I have a right to use a firearm, I must be allowed to carry it wherever I can use it. Sec. 3 a 1 and 2 are not limited geographically...


  5. time to sue the colleges that don't permit you to carry...

  6. Cool your jets. Proposed, not passed

  7. @Sean: I do virtually all my Federal legislative research at the Library of Congress's website:

    Ellmers is very good on 2A issues and should be responsive. I am so glad she beat Bob "Who are you!?" Etheridge. Plus she is a registered nurse and you know how I feel about them! Just ask the Complementary Spouse.

  8. I've e-mailed a copy of the bill to Rep. Mac Thornberry 13th district of Texas with a recommendation that he sign on as a cosponsor.