More good news for WV RKBA Supporters

Check it out, West Virginians!

HOUSE OF DELEGATES FAST-TRACKS, PASSES LIMITED CASTLE DOCTRINE BILL

Today (2-28-08), the House of Delegates passed Senate Bill 145, a limited Castle Doctrine bill sponsored by every member of the Senate, on a vote of 96-1. The sole Nay vote came from anti-gun Delegate John Doyle, D-Jefferson, who perennially sponsors a one-handgun-per-month gun rationing bill.

SB 145 was passed by the House Judiciary Committee this morning. On the House floor, the constitutional rule requiring a bill to be read on three separate days was suspended and the House passed SB 145 and made it effective immediately upon becoming law (most bills take effect 90 days from passage). The vote to make the bill effective immediately was also 96-1, again with Delegate Doyle casting the sole Nay vote.

Although we (West Virginia Citizens Defense League) believed SB 145 could have been amended to offer crime victims stronger protections, we supported SB 145 and hope Governor Manchin will promptly sign it. SB 145 will take effect immediately upon being signed into law.

Let’s go Gov. Manchin! We want our castles safe! Here’s the actual text of SB 145 (emphasis mine):

COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR Senate Bill No. 145

(By Senators Love, Green, Prezioso, Sypolt, Boley, Unger, Jenkins, Bowman, Tomblin, Mr. President, Plymale, Kessler, Chafin, Wells, Oliverio, Guills, Facemyer, McKenzie, Edgell, Foster, Deem, Fanning, Barnes, McCabe, Caruth, Hunter, Helmick, Bailey, Yoder, Sharpe, Minard, White, Stollings, Hall and Sprouse)

[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary; reported February 14, 2008.]

A BILL to amend and reenact §55-7-22 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to clarifying that reasonable and proportionate force may be used to protect one’s self or another from an intruder or attacker while lawfully in one’s residence or that of another; codifying the common law doctrine that a lawful occupant within a home or residence has no duty to retreat from an intruder or attacker; clarifying that the use of reasonable and proportionate force, including deadly force, may be used against an intruder or attacker by one not engaged in unlawful activity in any place other than a home or residence where the person reasonably believes the intruder or attacker intends to kill or inflict serious bodily harm; establishing that use of reasonable and proportionate force to defend oneself is a full and complete defense civilly to an action brought by an intruder or attacker based upon the use of such force; and exceptions.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §55-7-22 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 7. ACTIONS FOR INJURIES.

§55-7-22. Civil relief for persons resisting certain criminal activities.

(a) 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 into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder’s or attacker’s unlawful entry if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder or attacker may kill or inflict serious bodily harm upon the occupant or others in the home or residence or if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder or attacker intends to commit a felony in the home or residence and the occupant reasonably believes deadly force is necessary.
(b) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence does not have a duty to retreat from an intruder or attacker in the circumstances described in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) A person not engaged in unlawful activity who is attacked in any place he or she has a legal right to be outside of his or her home or residence may use reasonable and proportionate force against an intruder or attacker: Provided, That such person may use deadly force against an intruder or attacker in a place that is not his or her residence without a duty to retreat if the person reasonably believes that he or she or another is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm from which he or she or another can only be saved by the use of deadly force against the intruder or attacker.
(d) The justified use of reasonable and proportionate force under this section shall constitute a full and complete defense to any civil action brought by an intruder or attacker against a person using such force.
(e) The full and complete civil defense created by the provisions of this section is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing or escaping from the commission of a felony;
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself, herself or another with the intent to use such force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant; or
(3) Otherwise initially provokes the use of force against himself, herself or another, unless he or she withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
(f) The provisions of this section do not apply to the creation of a hazardous or dangerous condition on or in any real or personal property designed to prevent criminal conduct or cause injury to a person engaging in criminal conduct.
(g) Nothing in this section shall authorize or justify a person to resist or obstruct a law-enforcement officer acting in the course of his or her duty.

(NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the use of proportionate force by a person in any place the person has a legal right to be against an intruder or attacker. The bill also provides that the use of proportionate force is a full defense civilly in an action brought by an intruder or attacker against an occupant resisting with reasonable and proportionate force.)

Section 22 has been completely rewritten; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

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