Pa. bill would allow killing in self-defense


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Rezin
August 14, 2006, 12:40 AM
http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/103-08132006-697399.html

Pa. bill would allow killing in self-defense

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - State lawmakers are considering a bill that would permit people to stand their ground - and even use deadly force - to defend themselves when threatened or endangered.

Current law states that when people are attacked or threatened in public, their responsibility is to retreat.

But retreating "could get you shot or stabbed in the back," said state Rep. Steven Cappelli, R-Lycoming.

Cappelli has sponsored a bill that would allow people who are licensed to carry concealed guns to use those weapons if they are threatened with death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or rape.

Since October, 10 states have passed similar bills, known by supporters as "stand-your-ground laws" and backed by the National Rifle Association. Florida was the first, and Michigan was the most recent.

Opponents of the bill call it a "shoot now, ask questions later" law.

Zach Ragbourn, a spokesman for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the proposal could enable murderers to claim self-defense and get lighter sentences.

But Cappelli said his bill wouldn't provide criminals with a defense because only people with concealed weapons permits - who have gone through criminal background checks - would be allowed to shoot in self-defense.


Pennsylvania already allows people to use deadly force against intruders in their homes.

"The idea is that your home is your last refuge," Perry County District Attorney Charles Chenot said. "Once you retreat to your home, you have no place else to go."

Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico said Cappelli's proposal is unnecessary. If it is obvious that a shooter could not retreat to safety, even in public, Marsico said, he would consider the shooter's actions to be in self-defense.

Still, Cappelli said he hopes his bill will be debated at the General Assembly's Aug. 26 session on gun control and crime.

Gov. Ed Rendell has not taken a position on the bill, said spokeswoman Kate Philips.

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agricola
August 14, 2006, 05:31 AM
As someone who isnt familiar with Pa. law, the following questions are asked:

i) is Pa. law based on the old English common law? If so, how has one of its most relevant portions been twisted into "you must retreat"?

ii) has anyone fallen foul of the law as it currently stands, or is this simply a politician trying to create an problem in order to fix it (when it reality no such problem exists)?

iii) wouldnt allowing only those with CCW to shoot others in self defence be rather a severe restriction on the rights of everyone without CCW? Even in the UK there is no limit on who may and may not exercise their rights of self-defence (albeit of course the possession of items that may be used is limited).

justashooter
August 14, 2006, 06:46 AM
1.) yes, it is. retreat is for the purpose of threat reduction. if you can retreat, you can reduce the threat. if your attacker pursues and continues to threaten heinous crimes against the body you may shoot him to prevent.

2.) such problem does exist. the law as worded makes a shooting in public more likely to be monday morning quarterbacked. this new law will clarify.

3.) the ccw use limitation is for public areas in which concealed carry requires permit. gun in home or busuness requires no such permit, and could be used by non ccw under current law. different situation.

bouis
August 14, 2006, 07:05 AM
The issue with retreat requirements isn't that you always have to retreat (you don't if it will expose you to more danger), just that the question of whether you should have is going to be second-guessed by a jury not once, but at least twice.

geekWithA.45
August 14, 2006, 08:56 AM
http://members.aol.com/StatutesP1/18.Cp.5.html

Current PA law does not require retreat in the home:


The use of deadly force is justifiable under this section (protection of property) if:
(A) there has been an entry into the actor's dwelling;
(B) the actor neither believes nor has reason to believe that the entry is lawful; and
(C) the actor neither believes nor has reason to believe that force less than deadly force would be adequate to terminate the entry.
If the conditions of justification provided in subparagraph (i) have not been met, the use of deadly force is not justifiable under this section unless the actor believes that:
(A) the person against whom the force is used is attempting to dispossess him of his dwelling otherwise than under a claim of right to its possession; or
(B) such force is necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in dwelling.




On the street, PA law requires retreat if it can be accomplished in "complete" safety.


The use of deadly force is not justifiable under this section unless the actor believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat; nor is it justifiable if:
the actor, with the intent of causing death or serious bodily injury, provoked the use of force against himself in the same encounter; or
the actor knows that he can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety by retreating or by surrendering possession of a thing to a person asserting a claim of right thereto or by complying with a demand that he abstain from any action which he has no duty to take, except that:
(A) the actor is not obliged to retreat from his dwelling or place of work, unless he was the initial aggressor or is assailed in his place of work by another person whose place of work the actor knows it to be; and
(B) a public officer justified in using force in the performance of his duties or a person justified in using force in his assistance or a person justified in using force in making an arrest or preventing an escape is not obliged to desist from efforts to perform such duty, effect such arrest or prevent such escape because of resistance or threatened resistance by or on behalf of the person against whom such action is directed.


The duty to retreat is modified when defending another:


506. Use of force for the protection of other persons.

(a) General rule.--The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when:
the actor would be justified under section 505 of this title (relating to use of force in self-protection) in using such force to protect himself against the injury he believes to be threatened to the person whom he seeks to protect;
under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force; and
the actor believes that his intervention is necessary for the protection of such other person.

(b) Exceptions.--Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section:
When the actor would be obliged under section 505 of this title to retreat, to surrender the possession of a thing or to comply with a demand before using force in self-protection, he is not obliged to do so before using force for the protection of another person, unless he knows that he can thereby secure the complete safety of such other person.
When the person whom the actor seeks to protect would be obliged under section 505 of this title to retreat, to surrender the possession of a thing or to comply with a demand if he knew that he could obtain complete safety by so doing, the actor is obliged to try to cause him to do so before using force in his protection if the actor knows that he can obtain complete safety in that way.
Neither the actor nor the person whom he seeks to protect is obliged to retreat when in the dwelling or place of work of the other to any greater extent than in his own.

I'd like to see the text of the proposed law, to see if it clarifies or muddies the water.

RealGun
August 14, 2006, 09:37 AM
The issue with retreat requirements isn't that you always have to retreat (you don't if it will expose you to more danger), just that the question of whether you should have is going to be second-guessed by a jury not once, but at least twice.

And that's after the police and DA have decided to bring charges. A shooting doesn't automatically go to trial when obviously righteous, unless some localized law says it is mandatory.

Lonestar
August 14, 2006, 09:45 AM
Sometimes I'm torn with Stand your ground law. I like the fact it would save a lot of crime victims the aggravation of defending themselves in court. Example would be Ms. Conceal Carry is standing alone waiting for a bus when a Drunk staggers in her direction saying "I'm going to rape you." and pulls a knife, but is 40 feet away. Now she could just run away, but there is no certainty that she can outrun the guy, or that she might trip and the guy catches up to her. Instead She pulls her gun, warns the guy to get back, or go away. He continues to approach and gets within 20 feet and she shoots, but does not kill him. The guy ends up paralyzed and he sues Ms. Carry claiming he pulled the knife after she pulled the gun on him.

What worries me is if my 6 year old daughter and I are leaving store and eager to be a big girl she open my car door and dings the car next to mine. That car belongs to Mr. Mall Ninja, who is sitting in his car reading a gun magazine. He gets out of his car and say something extremely foul to my 6-year-old girl (let us say for example, the C word you never say to a woman, let alone to a little girl). Without approaching Mr. Ninja, I say something foul, yet threatening to him. Mr. Ninja gets sexually excited because as he interprets the law, because I say something threatening, he thinks he gets a free pass to blow my brains out.

From my years of reading gun forum web post ( the main reason I joined THR instead of The Firing Line ) is that there are people out there that are looking for any excuse to kill someone. For 99.9% of CW carriers it is a good law, but it is that .1% that will ruin it for us all.

RealGun
August 14, 2006, 10:29 AM
From my years of reading gun forum web post ( the main reason I joined THR instead of The Firing Line ) is that there are people out there that are looking for any excuse to kill someone. For 99.9% of CW carriers it is a good law, but it is that .1% that will ruin it for us all.

Driving isn't banned in response to too many DUI incidents. The problem with guns is that too many are looking for an excuse to curtail their ownership and use. Unfortunately, all they really accomplish is harassment of upright people, who have a right to self defense and a determination to provide the means. Once they are restricted, only bad guys have guns, yet the gun grabbers are convinced that they did what was necessary and that somehow it was effective, either lies or denial.

Lonestar
August 14, 2006, 11:40 AM
RealGun???? The law in question is "Stand your Ground" this has nothing to do with actual gun ownership, just a change in interpretations on what you can and cannot do when defending yourself.

My concern is if the wording in the law is unclear or open for interpretation than you run the risk of a Mall Ninja blowing away a Soccer Mom because he felt threatened during a VERBAL argument. If the Mall Ninja gets off using this law as a loophole, then the Gun Grabbers get more ammo to infringe on everyone's RBKA. I'm all for the law, but the wording needs to be precise as a "frickin laser"

RealGun
August 14, 2006, 11:48 AM
I'm all for the law, but the wording needs to be precise as a "frickin laser"

You are not "for the law". You want to change the wording to nullify its intent and to be so restrictive that gun ownership and possession in public does not remotely resemble freedom and is far more a privilege than a right.

Knucklehead2
August 14, 2006, 12:03 PM
I have looked for the Bill but I can not find it.
Anyone have the Bill Number?
Thanks!

carebear
August 14, 2006, 12:08 PM
Lonestar,

There's nothing in these laws to worry about, at least not given the scenario you came up with.

These laws don't change the criteria on what makes a shoot legal. A "verbal" threat is no more a justification for shooting after a "stand your ground" law is in effect than it was before. All it does is remove the duty to retreat from a threat, not change the requirements for that threat to justify deadly force..

Shooting over an exchange of words is still illegal.

Hawkmoon
August 14, 2006, 01:00 PM
And that's after the police and DA have decided to bring charges. A shooting doesn't automatically go to trial when obviously righteous, unless some localized law says it is mandatory.
True. But we're talking about Pennsylvania and, last I heard, Philadelphia was still located in Pennsylvania.

Lonestar
August 14, 2006, 04:04 PM
There's nothing in these laws to worry about, at least not given the scenario you came up with.

These laws don't change the criteria on what makes a shoot legal. A "verbal" threat is no more a justification for shooting after a "stand your ground" law is in effect than it was before. All it does is remove the duty to retreat from a threat, not change the requirements for that threat to justify deadly force..

Shooting over an exchange of words is still illegal.

If that is the case, then cool, I'm all for it.

Beren
August 14, 2006, 04:54 PM
What else is on the Aug. 26th agenda? Should we write our reps in advance?

Knucklehead2
August 14, 2006, 05:08 PM
Link to the House Bill HB 2231.


http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/BI/BH/2005/0/HB2231.HTM

RealGun
August 15, 2006, 07:59 AM
Pa. bill would allow killing in self-defense

Note that the title is meant to sound outrageous. The bill says no such thing, and no law provides for shooting with intent to kill, a coup de grace for example, although it certainly provides for the likelihood of a justified death as a result of stopping a threat with deadly force.

coat4gun
August 15, 2006, 08:30 AM
The following Civil immunity part in my mind is the best part of this bill. If I have to shoot someone in self-defense, there should be no Just reason I should have to spend my life savings on defense in some civil suit from a long-lost relative trying to scam a buck.

8340.2. Civil immunity for use of force.
3 (a) General rule.--An actor who uses force:
4 (1) in self-protection as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. 505
5 (relating to use of force in self-protection);
6 (2) in the protection of other persons as provided in 18
7 Pa.C.S. 506 (relating to use of force for the protection of
8 other persons);
9 (3) for the protection of property as provided in 18
10 Pa.C.S. 507 (relating to use of force for the protection of
11 property);
12 (4) in law enforcement as provided in 18 Pa.C.S. 508
13 (relating to use of force in law enforcement); or
14 (5) consistent with the actor's special responsibility
15 for care, discipline or safety of others as provided in 18
16 Pa.C.S. 509 (relating to use of force by persons with
17 special responsibility for care, discipline or safety of
18 others);
19 is justified in using such force and shall be immune from civil
20 liability for personal injuries sustained by a perpetrator which
21 were caused by the acts or omissions of the actor as a result of
22 the use of force.

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