H.R. 17: Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2009 (A Trojan Horse!)

This is a discussion on H.R. 17: Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2009 (A Trojan Horse!) within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; (1) self or family against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury; This part bothers me. Reasonable and imminent. ...

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Thread: H.R. 17: Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2009 (A Trojan Horse!)

  1. #16
    Senior Member Array press1280's Avatar
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    (1) self or family against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury;

    This part bothers me. Reasonable and imminent. This sounds like the good ole' NJ/MD CCW requirements. Sounds like someone wants to have the arbitrary process go beyond CCW and include possession as well.
    That would mean DC could deny Heller a hangun because he wasn't attacked or threatened.
    I don't see anything bad in the rest of the bill, but it does seem redundant in light of Heller and the 2A.
    "The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree..."
    Nunn v. State GA 1848

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  3. #17
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I could be wrong but I see it as an added restriction by adding the Brady clause.

    Michael

  4. #18
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    I don't want to dismiss Janq's concerns, because I agree with him in the following sense: we shouldn't need Federal legislation that is redundant with respect to protected rights, and any attempt to do so offers a potential avenue for 2A opponents to try to restrict specific things that aren't encompassed by such a law.

    So I will grant that I can see room for Unintended Consequences to come along and bite us in the backside.

    Without that extra grain of salt, though, Bartlett has an A-rating from the NRA and is generally clued in on RKBA issues, and I think this is a straightforward attempt by him to propose a legitimate Federal Castle Doctrine. Thing is, it might almost be worth seeing this pass just to get all of those findings---the exact arguments we tend to make to counter anti-2A BS---admitted as an official part of the Congressional record.

    I figure this will probably go the way of the National reciprocity legislation---well-intentioned but DOA.

    ETA: The Brady reference might be a sop to get some votes. If it were me writing it, trying to find some weasel words, I might just say something like, "anybody not specifically prohibited under Federal law from buying..."

    Also, I think the paragraph about those whose rights have been curtailed having the right to bring action and seek relief is a deliberate thumb in the Brady Bunch's collective eye, addressing the current situation where folks are generally unable to get themselves off of a NICS forbidden list; this should, I think, be seen as a pro-RKBA effort limited by the state of other current legislation.
    Last edited by kazzaerexys; January 28th, 2009 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Another thought.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

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  5. #19
    VIP Member Array AllAmerican's Avatar
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    Not to worry... Its going to go nowhere.
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  6. #20
    Member Array swaggs's Avatar
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    Fully agree with Paul on this. This is not a restrictive bill. It doesn't trump states castle laws in any way. Rather, it provides a baseline, federal, level of protection to those who defend themselves and their families.

    Should this be a state issue? Absolutely! But since some states seem to face internal hurdles that do allow passage of such laws, this would be a win. Of course, many of those same hurdles exist at the federal level. Is it likely that this bill will make it through a liberal house, liberal senate, and miss a liberal veto?.......

  7. #21
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    I afraid I’m going to have to agree with Jang on this one.

    The 2nd amendment already says it all.

    And while it sounds great up front, I am afraid that anytime you try to tamper with or improve the 2nd amendment, we are tampering with one of the key basis of our form of Government, and by doing so, lead to the 2nd amendment being diminished, or restricted.

  8. #22
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    How can you folk think that it does not trump state castle laws when this 'baseline' sets the criminal action by the victimizer at a requirement of "felony" level activity?

    On the face of things alone, even if you read nothing else of the full body text or even the summery, that should immediately jump out to you and all as hey that is a problem...a serious problem.
    Not nearly all or I'd say even a majority of Castle specific cases involved or started out as being felony level crime activities.

    For example as ripped from the recent DC.com head lines...

    * Father defends daughter and grandson from ex-husband who attempts to enter fathers home and in the process thumps or as reported "punches" father in his chest at where his recently completed heart surgery was closed up. Father at that point having been assaulted but the ex-husband is not yet in the home shoots the criminal in self defense. Castle law is applicable, but the action by the criminal was NOT a felony. Assault is a misdemeanor.

    * Joe Horn of Texas shoots two persons who to him in the moment appeared to have broken into a neighbors home. As they flee, with a bag in hand, one of them physically takes steps on to his lawn which adjoins that of his neighbor. He engages both persons and fires. The persons die being guilty of Trespass (Joe's Land) and Criminal Trespass for the accomplice. Neither type of crime are felonies, they are misdemeanors.

    * Running right now today as a feature item at DC.com is the story of a guy in Colorado who was literally blind drunk and wound up attempting to break into an occupied home which by circumstantial evidence appears to have been mistaken by him as being his own residence (http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...-shooting.html).
    The actual homeowner who is present ends up shooting the trespasser upon he attempting to enter by means of force. The criminal dies. If he had survived his charge also would have been Criminal Trespass. Which is a misdemeanor, not a felony.


    Under this federalized proposal which would supersede state law and might maybe be used as a "baseline" (not all states would expand on this though...for example states that currently do not support Castle Laws to some degree which are quite few) all of the above case would not be applicable and thus not cleared as Castle Defense scenarios, exposing the victims to be victimized a second time...by Federal law.

    Seriously folks think about this.
    Go to the DC.com thread "In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and on your own pick and choose Castle Law related stories from there at random (!) and note how those instances compare to the text of this proposal, just on the requirement of their having to have been a commission of a felony alone.
    Forget about everything else I'd said that also is a problem here and focus just on the felony component.

    As quoted once more, and this time bolded for emphasis, because it seems like folks missed this prior either in reading the proposal on their own or reviewing this thread...

    SEC. 3. RIGHT TO OBTAIN FIREARMS FOR SECURITY, [b]AND TO USE FIREARMS IN DEFENSE OF SELF, FAMILY, OR HOME; ENFORCEMENT[b].

    (1) in defense of self or family against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury;
    [This eliminates Joe Horn!]

    (2) in defense of self or family in the course of the commission by another person of a violent felony against the person or a member of the person's family; and
    [This eliminates grandpa who was bumped/thumped/pushed/punched in the chest on his stoop!]

    (3) in defense of the person's home in the course of the commission of a felony by another person.
    [This eliminates Colorado guy and Grandpa and Joe Horn too!]
    This is a proposed law of the land. Not a contract toward a Blockbuster account that can be easily revoked if you find out it sucks and do not want it any more One must read this and all such proposals with a purposefully critical eye, regardless of who proposed what and where they might fall amongst the friends of the NRA scale last month.
    Half the craplaws and regulations we have in place were written with good intentions and passed because folks including citizens and those who represent us did not and do not simply read muchless critically. And they assume ehh so n so he's on 'our' side and he means well. Well you know what they say about good intentions.
    This proposal has holes. Either plug them with a proper rewrite, or scuttle it.

    BTW if I were of the anti-gun and anti-violence and anti-2A and anti-citizen defense belief and I had read this proposal, I would view this as being something that is 'bilateral' which is political speak for appeasement. Both sides give something so that both sides can win something.
    Ask yourself what do you win and at what cost?

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

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  9. #23
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    Janq--the first provision does not require felony activity, only "reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily harm"--it says nothing about felony.

    The only problem that I see with this law--aside from the fact that we shouldn't need it, because the RKBA already supercedes it--is that it is limited to protection of self and "family" and does not provide the same protection for defense of others.

    Still, as noted above, this legislation has a snowball's chance, anyway. Our fight is and always will be with restoring the scope of the 2A to what it was intended, and its extension to State restrictions via the 14A.

  10. #24
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    XDF,

    Lets run with that.

    If selective use of 1, 2, or 3 were the intent then there is no need for 2 and 3.
    Number 2 is duplicitous to number 1 only adding an additional restriction of the felony contingent.
    Number 3 is specific to defense of ones home. That should have been and would be better written if inserted amongst 1 as are "self" and "family" to read;

    '(1) in defense of self or family or home against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury'

    Then in number 1 there is the statement of "serious bodily injury".
    Again see my real world examples. None of those three involved "serious bodily injury". Not even the one where the dad homeowner was thumped in his chest, even as it is not a felony either. Same goes for criminal trespass, it is not a "serious bodily injury" type of crime and in the other two examples neither victim reported to police in real time that their person(s) they were in fear of were in any way armed or even able to be a "threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury".

    If at the worst one might say this is badly written then I'd agree.
    A rewrite is in order, which still makes this proposal in specific a problem.
    Again never mind all of my other prior comments.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  11. #25
    Member Array XDFender's Avatar
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    Dude--the first provision covers defense of self and family based on "reasonable perception", the second covers defense of self and family based on violent felonious action against a person regardless of perception, and the third covers defense of home based on felonious action. They cover three different sets of circumstances. Your proposal would be far more limiting than what is already there.

    I am not saying that it is a great bill--I think the restriction to self and family is absurd--but this is not the ogre you are making it out to be.

  12. #26
    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    America the great, land of the lawsuit.

    That bill is too loosely written and I also see it preempting or overriding existing State Castle Laws.

    The first thing you are going to get hit with when you go to trial, "Are you qualified to determine what type of crime is a Felony?"

    Robbery may be a felony, but only after they have left your property with your property, in which case, the law no longer applies. If you stop them before they leave, then it is misdemeanor B&E with vandalism for making a mess while rifling your jewelery box or safe for goodies.

    Me no likey either.
    Sticks

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  13. #27
    VIP Member Array rottkeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    America the great, land of the lawsuit.

    That bill is too loosely written and I also see it preempting or overriding existing State Castle Laws.

    The first thing you are going to get hit with when you go to trial, "Are you qualified to determine what type of crime is a Felony?"

    Robbery may be a felony, but only after they have left your property with your property, in which case, the law no longer applies. If you stop them before they leave, then it is misdemeanor B&E with vandalism for making a mess while rifling your jewelery box or safe for goodies.

    Me no likey either.
    Not sure but if they break in while someone is home around here the charges are upgraded from B&E to felony burglary. But I agree that you would be put to task on the stand about your knowledge of the laws. And how you come to aquire that knowledge.
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  14. #28
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Why would I want a law that assures me of the right to firearms for defense, when it's no one's business why I have a firearm to begin with. I already have a much broader right to own firearms. It seems like it is a step in conditioning the masses to think of firearms only for defense - a backdoor for limiting what firearms are "reasonable" for defense and thus for purchase. Kind of like the "sporting purpose" nonsense included in the German gun control legislation in 1938 and the US's in '68. No thanks. I already have the right to purchase/own a firearm for whatever (legal) reason I want with no need to explain to anyone my intent.

  15. #29
    VIP Member Array Sticks's Avatar
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    It would be a great law for the EU Parliament to start with.
    Sticks

    Grasseater // Grass~eat~er noun, often attributive \ˈgras-ē-tər\
    A person who is incapable of independent thought; a person who is herd animal-like in behavior; one who cannot distinguish between right and wrong; a foolish person.
    See also Sheep

  16. #30
    Member Array swaggs's Avatar
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    Nothing in this bill is punitive (or restrictive for that matter). There is no language to the effect of "such person cannot use a firearm (or other weapon) in defense during a misdemeanor."
    Instead, it reads, IF you use a weapon in cases 1, 2, or 3, THEN you are afforded the following rights. Inversely (and the inverse is true in this case), IF you use a weapon for something not listed in cases 1, 2, or 3, THEN this bill doesn't apply to you. It does not say you can't legally use a weapon in cases other than listed and does not say you can't own a fireare for purposes other than defense. It just guarantees you certain protections if you're situation does fall under the listed cases.
    As such, there is nothing in this bill that would be in conflict with state laws that afford more protection regarding the use of firearms, therefore it would not trump those laws and make them obsolete.
    I remain in full support of this bill.

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