How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Home? "Stand Your Ground Law" Facing Changes
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on March 18, 2013 @ 12:24AM
Created on March 17, 2013 @ 9:50PM
"A guy's carrying your DVD player out the door. Can you use force to stop that guy?" asked CPL Waggamon of the WV State Police.
Now, you may be able to use deadly force to stop someone from stealing your property.
Our state honors the Stand Your Ground Law. Under West Virginia code 55-7-22: " A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using reasonable and proportionate force, including deadly force, against an intruder or attacker to prevent a forcible entry..."
But now, there's some proposed changes to the law.
CPL. Waggamon added, "The Legislature does wants to change the law, to eliminate some of the grey area that's there. It doesn't really give you the rules in black and white. The whole thing's grey."
That's the current law. But the grey area is the problem. You must use "proportionate force." That means you must decide quickly if you're being threatened enough to kill someone. And what's proportionate force for a 100 pound woman, is not the same as it would be for a 200 pound man.
"You can't just shoot someone because they're walking on your property. You've got to be in fear for your safety. It still has to be investigated. It's just not automatic, where you shoot and kill someone, and then you're off the hook. It doesn't work like that."
Changes in the bill would remove the part requiring self-defense to be proportionate to the attack. It would also mean you could use force to protect another person. And it authorizes the use of deadly force against someone they believe is committing a robbery.
So, you might not have to worry as much about being sued by the family of the attacker, which has happened.
Military Veteran Brittany Wallace said, "Yes, I do think that's a good idea. If I feel my life is being threatened, and I shoot and there's a whole bunch of questions, I'm just going to be happen to be alive."
Critics of the law say it encourages a "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude.
While the bill will help to eliminate the grey areas of the current laws, the general rule of thumb: "Use common sense."
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