January 6th, 2012 10:51 AM
NEED: Sample letter to legislator supporting Castle Doctrine legislation
The Commonwealth of Virginia has two bills, one each in the Senate (SB 4) and General Assembly (HB 48), seeking to codify the Castle Doctrine. If anyone has sample letters that have been used when contacting legislators encouraging support of Castle Doctrine legislation, could you please post them here? I've looked on the VCDL and NRA-ILA sites without success.
January 26th, 2012 10:56 PM
Here's the one I sent to Senator Northam
I am writing to to strongly encourage your support of SB 4 as it comes to the Senate Floor. SB4 would establish "Castle Doctrine" law in Virginia.
Imagine for a moment that you and your loved ones were the victim of a brutal home invasion and that you were forced to use deadly force in the defense of your life and that of your family. Now imagine your family being further terrorized by your assailant through the legal system as they sued you for injuries sustained while you were forced to defend yourself and family.
Senator, that scenario is not fiction. It has happened in New York, California and Maryland. Please stand up for the rights of victims and support the Intrinsic Human Right of Self Defense by actively supporting SB 4.
Your choice to exercise courage in defending the rights of Virginians to protect their homes and families will not be forgotten.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
January 27th, 2012 12:41 AM
Some tips I can provide is to ID your desires in the subject line, ie Support Castle doctrine + bill #. Use facts if you can and keep it short. Be respectful and thank them for their time and service. Here are 2 from the last couple years.
Since you are serving on the NC Senate Judiciary II Committee I am writing to ask that you support SB 928. North Carolina needs a true Castle Doctrine law that would protect law abiding citizens that find themselves in the unfortunate situation where they need to defend themselves with force. Our Current laws are rather vague on when and how much force can be used. When someone is being attacked by a criminal it is not the time to have to decide what the right action would be. We need to take the protection away from the criminals and but it back with the law abiding citizens where it belongs.
I am writing to ask that you work to have the Castle Doctrine bill, SB 928, heard in the Judiciary I Committee as soon as possible. This bill offers important protection for homeowners in the unfortunate event they have to use deadly force to defend themselves in their home. Specifically it protects homeowners from civil lawsuits if they have to justifiable defend themselves or their family. Thank you for your time and help in this matter.
I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!
"Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun. And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son." Josh Thompson "Way Out Here"
January 27th, 2012 05:25 PM
bdcheung et al,
You might want to think about the points raised by Philip Van Cleave, President VCDL, and re-posted by me at the end of my OP on Virginia Legislation -- More Fire Missions for Virginia members.
This is a tricky issue here in Virginia.
Our current self-defense "laws" are based on Common-law and case-law -- not statutory law.
We have pretty good coverage for self-defense here in Virginia already. We are stand-your-ground Commonwealth. Existing Case-law establishes self-defense rules for anywhere you are, not just in your home -- as long as you are not "part of the problem," you can stand your ground and defend yourself.
We need to be careful that a particular "Castle Doctrine" bill/statute does not diminish our right to self-defense outside the home.
There are States that have very arbitrary boundaries to what is your Castle -- e.g., the perp is coming through the window but falls out-side when shot he was not all the way in your castle; or three perps are breaking into your house, one comes through the busted down door, you open fire killing or injuring all three, you are OK on the one inside but not for the two still outside, etc.
FWIIW, I am personally concerned about the "unlawfully entered the dwelling and committed an overt act" wording in some bills. Under current Virginia Common-law and case-law I could have invited someone into my home, he/they subsequently go ballistic, and if I fear death or grievous bodily injury to myself or others I am protected. However, the "and" in the "unlawfully entered the dwelling and committed an overt act" raises more than a little concern, IMHO.
IMHO, there is no way the Virginia Legislature will follow the Texas model to allow the use deadly force to protect property or against a trespasser. You can only use deadly force to protect yourself or others when you reasonably fear death OR grievous bodily injury -- in your Castle or in the yard, in the store, in the Wal~Mart parking lot, etc.
Courts do tend to look at new statutory law as "fixing" a problem in Common-law or case-law, redefining Common-law and case-law, etc. Hence, you might find that some of the bills that were improvements in other States are actually retreated here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
If you know of any cases, here in Virginia, where this was not the decisions of the courts, please let me know.
I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.
I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro
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