It’s late at night and you are awakened by the sound of your sliding glass door breaking. Your spouse is awake alongside of you and the frightened cries of your child are starting to rise in the next room. Amid that noise and over the sound of your own pounding heart, you hear the sounds of at least 2 intruders starting to come up the stairs at a pretty good pace. You reach for the firearm you’ve bought for just this kind of situation and, relying on the training you’ve put yourself through, you brace to protect yourself and your family from people who clearly intend to do you harm.
Shoot those intruders and either they or their families could sue you for the injury or death you inflict. That’s right – they can sue you for protecting your family, for holding your ground in your own home against criminals who cheerfully break the law. Ah, but they won’t win, you say. No jury would convict you for acting in self-defense and in defense of your family in such a situation, you say. You might even be right. Care to consider the 2-5 years of your life wrapped up in legal fees, trial dates, depositions by plaintiff lawyers calling your judgment into question, launching reputation-smearing campaigns in the press, the possibility of attracting the attention of “minority rights” and “immigrant rights” groups should the criminals you shot be of a particular ethnic persuasion?
Not pretty, is it?
If you live in Florida and the above scenario plays out, you can shoot and kill the attackers and no one can sue you for so much as a dime. That’s because a law was passed recently that gives the presumption of law to the legal resident of a home to use whatever force you reasonably consider necessary to defend yourself, your family, and your home.
Might have been nice if the Virginia Senate’s “Courts of Justice” Committee had seen fit to grant citizens of Virginia the same protections.
For the 3rd time running these… “worthies”… have declined to send such a law to the floor of the Senate for a vote. The bill, passed by the House by a margin of 80-19, was killed by this Senate committee because the Senators, “said they knew of no civil lawsuits or criminal prosecutions dealing with the use of deadly force against intruders, so they felt there was no need for the legislation.” How nice. Where is the rule written that laws can’t get passed protecting law-abiding citizens from lawsuit harassment until one of them actually gets harassed? Which Virginia citizen are they going to subject to this kind of abuse before they act to explicitly protect all Virginians from the threat? And, once that happens, can they then be trusted to act swiftly and provide retroactive cover to that citizen, or is that poor guy just out of luck?
To Senators Cuccinelli (R-37), Obenshain (R-26), McDougle (R-4), and Hurt (R-19) I offer my thanks. They were the 4 Senators willing to do right by Virginians and tried to keep the bill from being killed off. Well done, Senators.
To Senators Marsh (D-16), Saslaw (D-35), Stolle (R-8), Quayle, (R-13), Norment (R-3), Howell (D-32), Lucas (D-18), Edwards (D-21), Reynolds (D-20), Puller (D-36), and Deeds (D-25), I have nothing but contempt. These do-nothing, visionless idiots don’t deserve the chairs they’re seated in. My special disgust is saved for the 3 Republicans on this committee who have shown such a callous disregard for the citizens who trusted them to serve with honor and with an eye toward protecting their rights. This bill was such a no-brainer it should have taken all of 5 seconds for them to have done whatever they could to get it passed. But they clearly have more important things to do and to hell with any of their constituents that might get caught up in this kind of legal labyrinth. I would like to think that the RPV will hold them accountable for this and certainly not let them off the hook in explaining what the hell they were thinking. I have no such faith, however. Perhaps this will be something the citizens of Districts 3, 8, and 13 will remember the next time they step to the polls.