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Gun rights group: Castle Doctrine 'not a make my day law'

Posted June 30, 2011

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— The idea that a man's home is his castle dates to the 18th century. In law, it is codified as the right to defend one's home from intruders without fear of being arrested. North Carolina lawmakers recently voted to expand that right.

Paul Valone, president of gun rights group Grass Roots North Carolina, knows guns and the Castle Doctrine. He wrote the original law currently on the books.

“The important thing to note is that Castle Doctrine is not a make my day law,” he said.

Under current state law, before homeowners can use deadly force against someone, they must have a reasonable belief that the intruder intends to kill or seriously hurt them.

Effective Dec. 1, gun owners will have less guesswork. The update to the law flips the burden of proof from the homeowner to prosecutors. If someone unlawfully crosses a homeowner’s threshold, whether there's a weapon in the intruder’s hands or not, it's automatically presumed that the person is a violent intruder.

“So, under Castle Doctrine, there’s a legal presumption that if he’s here, inside forcibly and unlawfully inside, he’s here to do me harm. And at that point, I can respond with deadly force,” Valone said.

However, there are limits in the new law. If the intruder tries to leave, the Castle Doctrine no longer applies. The bill also includes the right to defend your car and workplace, but you can't just pull a gun on anybody walking by.

“(The intruder) has to forcibly and unlawfully try to enter the vehicle,” Valone said.

Part of the law will also apply outside people’s homes – an alley, a mall, anywhere that person has a legal right to be.

Under the law, if a perpetrator runs up to someone with a bat, that person would first have to try to run away. The new law removes the duty to retreat. If the person felt the perpetrator could kill or cause harm, he or she could use deadly force, if necessary.

However, prosecutors can still argue that the threat wasn’t real.

“Castle Doctrine is not a get out of jail free card,” Valone said.

Gun rights group speaks on Castle Doctrine Gun rights group speaks on Castle Doctrine

The law that updates the Castle Doctrine makes these other changes to gun laws in the state:

  • District attorneys, assistant district attorneys and DA investigators can carry concealed handguns in courthouses, but not in courtrooms.
  • If a person is found with a gun of any kind (open or concealed) on school property or at a school-sponsored event, they are only guilty if they knowingly brought it on campus.
  • A sheriff has to either issue or deny a gun permit within 45 days, down from 90 days.
  • People can carry a concealed handgun on the grounds or waters of state parks.
  • People can purchase a gun in another state as long as they under go a background check for that state, including an inquiry of the National Instant Background Check System.
197 Comments

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  • I Carry even in Cary Jul 5, 4:16 p.m.

    hearandnow > I am sorry that you were not here when the discussion was occuring and you would have seen that my comment was referencing concealed carry and alchohol.

    But you have proven that you are not fit to carry so please do not ever buy a gun. For someone to come up with scenarios like you did in your mind shows a complete and utter instability. I do not beleive that you have the self control or responsibility level needed to own a gun.

    As two your two completly moronic and extreme situations I would say this -

    A.) I have been around guns my whole life and I have been around gun owners my whole life. I have never known one of them to be arrested for firing a girl scout or shooting someone for turning around in their driveway.

    B.) I think you need help in getting whatever the deep seated issues you have out. That is going to burn you up inside.

  • randall0123a Jul 5, 3:05 p.m.

    Hereandnow99, obviously you chose to express an extreme viewpoint on this – this can of course be taken on any issue. No matter the law, it will never cover 100% of all situations. What we do is want the majority of the situations covered, and those of us with rational heads on our shoulders are happy to see that this law is back on the side of the innocent. If you disagree, then just look at recent postings about voilent home invasions:
    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/9819891/
    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/9813641/
    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/9810058/
    http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/9804725/

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 5, 10:59 a.m.

    @yep I carry said, “It is still illegal to have a drop of alcohol in your system and posses a firearm. Seems fair as well.”

    Explain this to me, please. Wouldn’t this require that every gun owner never touch alcohol in his home? (or take pain or sleeping pills)

    What happens if you have a “drop of alcohol” in your system and someone unexpectedly enters your home? It could be a burgular, your child home early for spring break, your wimpy neighbor who was scared of a sound he heard in his backyard, ...

    And there you are in your castle...a little tipsy...with a loaded gun...

    Well...you’re good to go. Take that safety off and let ‘em have it. I mean, if they’re friendlys, they should have called first...

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 5, 10:47 a.m.

    45ACP said, "If someone is in my house unlawfully, I FEEL THRETENED!!"

    Really? So, the girlscout who saw your cute puppy in the foyer and couldn't resist opening the door to pet him...she "THRETENs" you? Or, the frail 80 y.o. mentally "slow" neighbor who stumbles in your door in his boxers and without his dentures...he "THRETENs" you?

    Well...you're in luck. You can blast away now. You don't have to think at all. You don't have to justify your shooting to anyone. Great job. Oh, you may want to avoid shooting the puppy...or not.

  • heat764 Jul 1, 6:29 p.m.

    I think it's about time we received some increase in our liberties, instead of the usual which is increase in government power. Especially in the case of defending yourself, your home and/or your family. With the current state of the economy crime is on the rise. If you look at the statistics for NC Crime you will find that B&E is rapidly increasing. I Have no desire to take another person's life and if the neighbor kid breaks in my house and steals my blender I will let him and call the cops, but if someone comes up the stairs the my bedroom they obviously want more than the blender and thus they will get more.

  • randall0123a Jul 1, 5:33 p.m.

    BIlzac, more comments on some of your posts:

    “I don't need legislation making it legal for me to go ahead and choose a head shot.”
    - But, you DO need legislation to help protect you from being a victim twice, if the person that broke into your house or their family tries to sue you from any harm that befell the criminal during said crime. Per the recent changes, you ARE protected now.

    “But I DO think there are at least a handful of them out there. I've seen and known plenty of people that I would definitely shiver to think of them owning and wielding a gun of any kind.”
    - By definition, you are describing those that do not abide by our laws of society. Those on this blog (hopefully) are law abiding citizens and gun owners that enjoy the 2nd amendment right to protect ourselves against uninvited invasion and threats to our homes and family.

  • randall0123a Jul 1, 5:29 p.m.

    BIlzac, to comment on some of your posts:

    "A pacifist is someone who does not believe in the use of violence to accomplish anything."
    - I would like to see how a pacifist would propose to stop a criminal without violence.

    "A Castle Law is a good thing. I know I haven't said otherwise, and neither has Haggis as I can recall."
    - The problem people are having with the mentioned names is the use of exaggeration. Like turning a No Trespassing sign on the door of a gun owner, to shooting people turning around in the driveway.

    "I suppose if I have a No Trespassing sign at the front of my driveway, and someone chooses to use my driveway for a turn around...well, if I find them threatening, do I get to fire at them now?"
    - I’m not sure who other than a psychotic or disturbed person would even fathom such a thing, but my recommendation to your question would be NO.

  • unclegrits Jul 1, 5:03 p.m.

    "Unclegrits......Really? I don't understand why people don't value their lives and their loved ones lives over some criminals life."

    That really does not matter. Take our soldiers for example, the majority of them in their first combat will not shoot their weapon or will shoot above the enemy. Most of us are wired to not want to hurt anyone and that includes all the people on this forum boasting about how quick they would fire their weapon at an intruder. Truth is 95% would hesitate.

  • BIlzac Jul 1, 4:14 p.m.

    I suppose if I have a No Trespassing sign at the front of my driveway, and someone chooses to use my driveway for a turn around...well, if I find them threatening, do I get to fire at them now?

    If someone breaks into my house and I am there, I'm going to do everything in my power to protect and defend my family, including violence at whatever level I deem is necessary.

    I don't need legislation making it legal for me to go ahead and choose a head shot.

    I'm not a fan or protector of criminals. As far as I am concerned we give them more than enough rights already.

    I still don't need the expansion that comes with this legislation, other than the burden of proof changes.

    Someone else said it best earlier.

    I don't think ALL gun owners are looking for an opportunity to shoot someone.

    But I DO think there are at least a handful of them out there. I've seen and known plenty of people that I would definitely shiver to think of them owning and wielding a gun of any kind.

  • BIlzac Jul 1, 4:10 p.m.

    Some of you all need a few more positive experiences with true civil discourse...

    A person disagreeing with your viewpoint does not cause that person to become whatever you want them to be in your mind.

    A pacifist is someone who does not believe in the use of violence to accomplish anything.

    Not wanting to make it even easier for a regular citizen to take the life of another person is far from a pacifist.

    A Castle Law is a good thing. I know I haven't said otherwise, and neither has Haggis as I can recall.

    I'm even fine with passing the burden of proof to the prosecution in a case where a homeowner shot an intruder.

    But when you give a gun owner carte blanche to committ murder, you've gone too far.

    Our policemen must justify their uses of deadly force, and THEY are trained extensively in how to handle such situations.

    I'm not suggesting there will be an outpouring of criminals shot by homeowners.

    I'm suggesting that it could now happen.

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