In Laws & Legal Challenges, Second Amendment
Louisiana HB 424, proposed by a Democratic lawmaker, would prosecute victims of domestic violence as the “aggressor” if they fight back.
Louisiana House Bill 424, proposed by Louisiana State Rep. Rodney Lyons (D-District 87), would amend existing self-defense laws within the state to allow the state to prosecute any individual who chooses to defend themselves from a violent attacker instead of retreating first.
Under the proposed bill, a father awakened in the middle of the night by a violent home invader would be required to first attempt to flee from the home. If he chooses to defend his family, before first attempting to flee, he can be prosecuted under the proposed legislation for “perpetuating”, i.e. prolonging the conflict.
Victims of domestic violence will now be considered the “aggressor” if they fight back against their abusers
One particular disturbing clause within the proposed bill specifically targets victims of domestic violence. Under the bill, a victim of domestic violence who defends herself from her abuser would now be labeled an “aggressor” if she did not first attempt to flee. If she chooses to defend herself first, before attempting to flee, she will be deemed to have “perpetuate[d] the conflict”, and “escalate[d] the level of force.”
Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers over fears of having no place else to go. Others remain in abusive, even dangerous situations, rather than removing their children from the family’s home. In such situations, the victim may feel their only recourse is to defend themselves from an abuser’s violent attack. Under the proposed bill, defending themselves would no longer be an option. Domestic violence victims who choose not to flee must now “shut up and take it”, or risk prosecution by the state as an “aggressor”.
Another attempt to undermine the “castle doctrine”
The bill represents yet another attempt by liberal lawmakers to undermine a principal of self-defense known as the “castle doctrine”. The “castle doctrine”, sometimes referred to as “stand-your-ground”, is a self-defense doctrine, typically outlined within a law, that designates a person’s home, as well as any legally occupied place such as a vehicle, as a place in which a person may use force to defend oneself against an attacker. Such laws provide the victim with immunity from legal prosecution that might result from their defense of their life. The term is most commonly used in the United States, though many other countries have similar principles in their laws.
Today, the majority of American states have some form of castle doctrine law. In jurisdictions where the castle doctrine applies, there is usually no duty to retreat when inside one’s home or vehicle. In some jurisdictions, there is no duty to retreat from anywhere a person has a legal right to be, such as a grocery store or public park. In such jurisdictions, a person may defend themselves from bodily harm or death, even if such defense causes injury to the attacker, and be free from civil liability.
The proposed Louisiana bill would effectively eliminate castle doctrine protections for the state’s residents, imposing upon Louisiana residents instead a “duty to retreat” in all situations. The proposed bill therefore represents a direct attack upon the principals of self-defense outlined within the second amendment to the U.S. constitution.
Have a comment?
Citizens wishing to comment on the above legislation may contact the bill’s author, Rep. Rodney Lyons (D-District 87) by email at lyons[email protected].
Editor’s Note: Louisiana residents who oppose this legislation are advised to remember the bill’s author during the next state elections.Ready to get involved?
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Keywords: CastleDoctrine, DomesticViolence, RodneyLyons, SelfDefense, StandYourGround.