Senate tentatively OKs presumption for deadly force

Posted February 24, 2011

— State senators tentatively approved a bill Thursday that gives a stronger legal basis for people to use deadly force if they feel their lives are threatened during a forcible break-in at their home, car or job.

Senate Bill 34, which attempts to expand widely what's known as the "castle doctrine," is considered to be a crime deterrent by supporters who say that legally armed citizens should have the right to protect themselves against unlawful entry.

Existing North Carolina law allows the use of deadly force to someone in a home, but the person might have to prove to police afterward he was faced with a reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.

The bill would increase the number of places where people using deadly force against an intruder would be immune from criminal or civil liability. They would also be presumed to have been justified in firing a weapon or attacking an intruder in self-defense. A prosecutor could still challenge that presumption in court.

Under the new measure, the presumption to use force would also include motorists during a carjacking and people at a place of business who believe they are being physically threatened by an intruder.

"If you have a woman driving home at night, someone is trying to come in her car at a stoplight, she doesn't have to stop and think what is going on before she can do something about it," said Sen E.S. “Buck” Newton, R-

Senate tentatively OKs presumption for deadly force Senate tentatively OKs presumption for deadly force

The bill must be voted on one more time by the full Senate. If it wins final approval, it would move onto the state House of Representatives for consideration.

Opponents worry the law could be misused to kill someone tapping on a car window for directions.

"They could be shot and the presumption will be it was justified. I think that type of innocent conduct should not amount to an execution," said Sen. Floyd B. McKissick Jr., D-Durham.

McKissick said he could support the bill if the portion on use of force in a vehicle was removed.


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  • singleactionsix Feb 25, 2011

    Raptor said in part..

    "Any one knocking on your window nowadays is there to steal your car, especially at night. I speak to people from a distance in parking lots."

    Even though I'm 100% PRO Firearm, this line of stupid thinking just proves there are some who should NEVER own a gun.

    There are those in the world who are Deaf/HoH/HI.. and because of their limited hearing, need to be in very close proximity to overcome their medical disadvantage.

    It sounds as though the above poster would shoot first and ask questions later instead of evaluating the situation beforehand. I hope and pray he never gets in a situation where he has killed someone needlessly because that person wasn't wearing their hearing aids that day.

  • duncand Feb 25, 2011

    To those who fear a murder because of a "tap on the window" or some other mundane interaction only need to look as far as the other states who have this type of law on the books. Scare tactics of mass accidents and vigilantism are ALWAYS proved wrong.


  • bj357 Feb 25, 2011

    The entire bill should be passed as it is defined. We do not need any exceptions listed. Law abiding citizens have the right and duty to protect themselves and family at home, work or in their vehicles. No disrespect to Sen. McKissick, your example does not hold water.

  • Raptor06 Feb 25, 2011

    I want the entire bill passed, not some watered-down version as visioned by Sen McKissick. His direction-finding scenario is so unrealistic. Any one knocking on your window nowadays is there to steal your car, especially at night. I speak to people from a distance in parking lots. I'm about to write his office to express my displeasure with his position.

  • duncand Feb 25, 2011

    We need this... citizens should not fear prosecution when they defend themselves against scum.


  • Tax Man Feb 24, 2011

    hp277 - yep, lots of folks have found themselves defending the proper use of a gun while in their home or on their property. The DA should not even be allowed to bring charges for any reason if an intruder enters your home or business - bang! Done. As to the jobs, if we have the safest state in the Union, jobs will come and people (taxpayers) will come. Make this the safest state by allowing the Castle Doctrine anywhere a law abiding person is attacked by a criminal!

  • Tax Man Feb 24, 2011

    This is good, common sense legislation. We deserve the right to protect our lives, family and property if the bad guys try to hurt, kill or steal from us! Please pass this legislation and make the criminals the ones who have to worry. NC should have the full Castle Doctrine allowing lethal force to be used anywhere, anytime by law abiding citizens who need to protect themselves, others and their property, not just in their homes, but anywhere they are when attacked! The more bad guys that die the less bad guys we have to lock up, feed, clothe and medicate!

  • mep Feb 24, 2011

    I dont call the police, I call the coroner... they are best suited to handling these situations when I'm involved.

  • 00100111 Feb 24, 2011

    And when it passes, lets keep going with restaurant carry/state park carry, then to barring employers from disallowing firearms locked and stored in vehicles on parking lots! There's a lot more that needs to be done, but one step at a time in the right direction!

  • lrfarms27572 Feb 24, 2011

    This is pointless. Name a case in NC where someone was prosecuted for defending their home under the current law.
    - hp277

    Sometimes we're not at home when our lives are in danger from an attacker. Please re-read the legislation more closely.