Sunday, March 27, 2005

A Man's Person Is His Castle

I saw this article and immediately recalled the furor in or local papers that arose over similar legislation that was passed in Utah back in 1994 or 1995, within a couple of years of the adoption of our shall- issue concealed carry law.

Here's what Florida is working on enacting into law (SB 436):

"A person who is attacked in any . . . place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

The intent is to clarify the right of citizens to defend themselves (or others) against criminal acts. In the eyes of the state law as it exists right now, there is a presumption that law-abiding citizens must employ retreat before employing deadly force in self defense.

Lawyers love laws like that. It opens endless opportunities for civil litigation on behalf of dead or wounded goblins even if district attorneys decline to prosecute a citizen who employed force in self defense. We had a spate of openings of California- based law offices who saw great profit potential in exploiting our existing legislative ambiguity concerning precisely when a citizen was entitled to defend him/herself. On Monday morning it's easy to say "You didn't act as a LAST RESORT...", which is bullshit, because there are dozens of dead crime victims who never even knew they had a fatal situation on their hands because they thought they were safe by cooperating with or surrendering to their attackers.

The linked article doesn't show much originality:

"To friends or family who are thinking of visiting or moving to Florida, you might want to pass on this advice: Don't.

Lebanon might be safer. Maybe even Israel.

Under a bill the Senate has passed and the House inevitably will, the Wild West is coming to Florida streets. And to bars, shopping centers, theme parks and everywhere else where strangers meet."

You can go to Google and do a cursory search "Wild West Guns Concealed Carry" and see just what kind of knee- jerk trope has been de riguer for the anti- second amendment crowd for the last few decades. Vigilantes, streets of blood, etc, etc...:

"What is this likely to mean in real life?

Scenario 1: Two drivers are arguing over a traffic accident. One reaches in his pocket for a pen and paper. The other thinks he is going for a gun. He will say his fear was reasonable.

Scenario 2: Two drunks are mixing it up in a bar. One pulls a knife. Shouldn't he have tried to break it off and walk away? No, says the bill; "A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be."

Utah's law expressly rejects deadly force in situations of "mutual combat" (which is defined under the consensual altercation code)- which is exactly what the "two drunks in a bar" scenario is all about. I have been led to understand, in discussions with CCW trainers and other professionals, that most other states with concealed carry laws have adopted the same standard.

The part of the SB 436 text that actually has the most impact comes at the tail end:

"... or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

That line, if enacted into law, removes a huge gray area that has been a cash cow to personal injury lawyers for decades. There is no compulsion for a CCW holder to act to defend anyone else but himself - there is no line in any CCW law requiring an armed citizen to stand in defense of community or society - but by codifying the right of a citizen to act in defense of others in the face of criminal acts strikes a blow for law abiding citizens and against the criminal culture that views our legal system as just that - "the system" by which they assume risks in search of returns.

We restrict their ambitions by increasing the risks they run.

Concealed carry has not resulted in an explosion of vigilante killing; nothing remotely like it. Anywhere. It is a frustrating chore to make a statistical statement on exactly what the actual effect of CCW passage in dozens of states has been, since media is dead against providing any ammunition that might be deleterious to anti second amendment agendas.

The author of the cited article is a Mr. Martin Dyckman. Check the photo.

There's a joke in there somewhere.


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