A bill that would expand the limits of legal self-defense in Arkansas was pre-filed Thursday in advance of the 2007 legislative session, which starts Jan. 8.
State Rep. Mike Burris, D-Malvern, pre-filed House Bill 1027, the proposed “Stand Your Ground Law.”
The bill would permit the use of deadly force against a person forcibly entering a dwelling or occupiable structure, unless the person is a lawful resident of the structure and is not violating a protective order or no-contact order.
It also would permit the use of deadly force against a person who is removing a person from a dwelling or occupiable structure against his or her will, unless the person being removed is a child, grandchild or other person in the legal custody of the person doing the removing.
The bill would not permit the use of deadly force by a person engaged in unlawful activity, nor would it permit deadly force against a law enforcement officer who enters a structure in the performance of his or her duties, if the officer identifies himself or herself or if the person who uses deadly force knows or should know that the other person is a law enforcement officer.
The bill would eliminate language in the state’s existing self-defense law that requires a person to retreat, if possible, before using deadly force to defend a person.
I adamantly oppose all forms of offensive harm, coercion, or violence. However, I wholeheartedly support the use of solely defensive force as a means to stop or prevent offensive harm.
Accordingly, I support this bill, and the rights protected by it. That does not mean I support violence or a “shoot-first” philosophy, but simply that I wish for citizens to have the legal right to choose to defend themselves in whatever way they feel necessary and best, insofar as they do not offensively harm any innocent person. In many cases, it may be wiser to flee rather than fight, but it’s the defenders prerogative to choose which option they feel is wiser. The last thing we need is a nanny-state using offensive coercion to tell people how to defend themselves.
Insofar as a person does not offensively harm any innocent people, let them have the freedom to defend themselves (and indeed the freedom to do anything) in any way they choose.
The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness includes the right to defend those rights.
What do you think?