Mississippi Bill Would Overturn State’s Castle Doctrine

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With the convening of State Legislatures for their 2014 sessions comes the inevitable early deluge of pet bills that serve the personal interests of their sponsors. So it is with Mississippi’s Deborah Dixon, a Democratic Representative who wants to overturn the State’s very strong Castle Doctrine laws with a bill that would abolish legal protection for people forced to kill someone in self defense — unless such harrowing ordeals happen to occur within 30 feet of their own homes.

The bill, HB 179 before the Mississippi House of Representatives, includes language remarkable for its apparent criminalization of innocent victims. From the Mississippi Gun News blog:

In HB 179 proposed today [Jan. 13] by Rep. Deborah Dixon (D-District 63)  the protection citizens have when defending themselves anywhere other than within 30 feet of their home would be removed.

In her bill she proposes the protections of criminal liability provided in Mississippi’s Castle Doctrine  “not be extended to any person who, in the act of resisting the commission of a felony upon him or within his dwelling, kills the aggressor outside of the immediate premises thereof.”

Dixon has a personal tragedy in her past which undoubtedly supplies an abundance of emotional fuel for a crusade to make the world a less violent place. Her son, Broderick, was murdered in cold blood in 2009 in Birmingham, Ala., by an off-duty police officer evidently jealous of his friendship with a mutual female acquaintance. But the law she’s proposing is counterproductive to her cause and, like every other attempt at re-evaluating the scope of the 2nd Amendment, is unConstitutional.

As one blog commenter pointed out, a 30-foot domicile limit on the Castle Doctrine law would, in fact, have favored the shooter in her son’s murder. Someone going by “Mississippi Guy” offered the following thoughtful breakdown:

I read the story of the tragic death of Rep. Dixon’s son at the hands of an off duty Alabama police officer “over a woman”. The police officer basically executed an unarmed man for no reason. I am very sorry for her loss.

NOW, if her son had a gun to defend himself (and survived), and a law like she filed was in effect where he lived, he would probably lose all protections of the Castle Doctrine and be subject to a civil suite [sic] by the cop or his family since he most likely was more than 30 feet from his residence when he was attacked (in his apartment parking lot and running away from the rogue cop).

I think a law to weed out mentally unstable cops would be of more value rather than to make the victim of crime a victim a second time in the courts.

Currently, Mississippi law does not subject a would-be crime victim who killed in self defense to civil recrimination for their actions — and that’s the way it should stay.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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