Saturday, September 12, 2009

More on the right to use force to defend property and in self defense

Prof. Jonathan Turley has a series of posts on his website on recent developments in this area. For example, go here for a report of a recent case in Montana in which Prof. Turely explains that "For years, legislators have been passing “castle doctrine” laws or “Make My Day laws” that allow homeowners to use lethal force against anyone who enters their home. While these laws have produced a wide range of controversial shootings (here and here and here and here and here and here), legislators have continued to expand their scope to businesses, cars, and other areas while also expanding the right to carry concealed weapons into churches, bars, schools, school games and workplaces. Some of these laws are called “Make My Day Better laws,” which allow the use of lethal force outside of the home to repel criminals. Montana’s law has sweeping language to protect the “natural right” to use lethal force." Go here for a dicussion of a similar case out of Texas and here for a note on a case in England.

1 comment:

Anthony Boyle said...

Personally, I think any law which allows for the use of lethal force upon those who intrude into the home are appropriate. Outside of the home, I do not believe it is appropriate.

There is an inherently frightening quality when it comes to people intruding into the home. I think it is unreasonable to expect any person to act reasonably when another person is breaking into their home.

One of the tort concepts I always found interesting was the idea that entering into another person's dwelling is permissible, provided they are doing so after the owner of the dwelling took the other person's personal property a short time beforehand. I do not like this concept at all. For instance, if somebody else steals your personal property and they keep it in their home, if you enter their dwelling to recover it, who is to say that the people inside the dwelling are going to have any idea who you are or why you are there.

I don't think entering into another person's home uninvited is ever permissible, under any circumstances. If somebody steals your property, call the police. If you start entering into other people's property to steal things or recover stolen property, you are always risking deadly force being used upon you.