The attack on North Carolina’s Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground law has begun. Today, a group of Democratic legislators introduced HB 1192 – Amend Castle Doctrine/Repeal Stand Ground. This bill would remove many of the hard-won protections that finally passed in 2011 (SL2011-268) especially those related to the workplace and in motor vehicles.
The text of the bill is below:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO AMEND THE LAW REGARDING THE “CASTLE DOCTRINE” AND TO REPEAL THE “STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS” SO THAT THE COMMON LAW CONTINUES TO GOVERN THE LAWFUL USE OF FORCE IN DEFENSE OF ONE’S SELF OR ANOTHER PERSON.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 14-51.2 is repealed.
SECTION 2. G.S. 14-51.3 is repealed.
SECTION 3. G.S. 14-51.4 is repealed.
SECTION 4. Article 14 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
“§ 14-51.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.
(a) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using any degree of force that the occupant reasonably believes is necessary, including deadly force, against an intruder to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder’s unlawful entry (i) if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder may kill or inflict serious bodily harm to the occupant or others in the home or residence or (ii) if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony in the home or residence.
(b) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence does not have a duty to retreat from an intruder in the circumstances described in this section.
(c) This section is not intended to repeal, expand, or limit any other defense that may exist under the common law.”
SECTION 5. This act becomes effective December 1, 2012, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.
The primary sponsors of this bill are Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford), Rep. William Wainwright (D-Craven), Rep. Mickey Michaux (D-Durham), and Rep. Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg). Rep. Rosa Gill (D-Wake), and Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) are co-sponsors of the bill. All of the legislators with the exception of Pricey Harrison are African-American. Harrison, an heir to the Jefferson Standard Insurance fortune, has sponsored gun control bills in the past including a proposal to create a centralized database of those denied pistol permits in North Carolina. Pistol purchase permits it should be remembered are a remnant of the Jim Crow era and was a way to deny blacks their Second Amendment rights.
The first section removed established the presumption of a reasonable fear of death or severe bodily harm for which deadly force could be used in the home, workplace, or motor vehicle if a person had unlawfully and forcibly entered (or was in the process of doing it) the home, car, or workplace. It also protected the lawful use of defensive force from civil liability.
The second section being removed deals with the defense of person and the use of force to protect oneself if you believe you are in danger of death or severe bodily injury. The current law also removed the duty to retreat as well a protected someone defending him or herself in accordance with the law from civil liability.
Finally, the third part of the Castle Doctrine removed, GS 14-51.4, states that the justification for use of defensive force is not available to anyone in the commission of a felony as well as to anyone who provoked an encounter. However, the person provoking the encounter can regain justification for the use of defensive force if they have explicitly backed off or if they have no possible way to retreat and the provoked person is about to kill them.
Frankly, HB 1192 is about making a political statement and not about changing the existing Castle Doctrine and Duty to Retreat. It has no chance of passing in this General Assembly and the sponsors know it. I’m just surprised that they haven’t named it the “Trayvon(TM) Martin Memorial Act”. I guess that would be even a bit much for this group of legislators.