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Pa. bill would allow killing in self-defense

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Rezin, Aug 14, 2006.

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  1. Rezin

    Rezin Member

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    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.
     
  2. agricola

    agricola Member

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    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).
     
  3. justashooter

    justashooter member

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    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.
     
  4. bouis

    bouis member

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    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.
     
  5. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    http://members.aol.com/StatutesP1/18.Cp.5.html

    Current PA law does not require retreat in the home:



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

    The duty to retreat is modified when defending another:


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

    RealGun Member

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    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.
     
  7. Lonestar

    Lonestar Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2006
  8. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    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.
     
  9. Lonestar

    Lonestar Member

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    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"
     
  10. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    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.
     
  11. Knucklehead2

    Knucklehead2 Member

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    I have looked for the Bill but I can not find it.
    Anyone have the Bill Number?
    Thanks!
     
  12. carebear

    carebear Member

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    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.
     
  13. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    True. But we're talking about Pennsylvania and, last I heard, Philadelphia was still located in Pennsylvania.
     
  14. Lonestar

    Lonestar Member

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

    Beren Moderator Emeritus

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    What else is on the Aug. 26th agenda? Should we write our reps in advance?
     
  16. Knucklehead2

    Knucklehead2 Member

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  17. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    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.
     
  18. coat4gun

    coat4gun Member

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    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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