Tag Archives: Castle Doctrine

Texas: Gun Control Bills Continue To Be Filed

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Everything’s bigger in Texas! Unfortunately including the number of new anti-gun legislation measures filed. READ MORE

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SOURCE: NRA-ILA

This Monday the Texas Legislature convened in Austin last month for its 86th Regular Session and the number of gun control measures filed so far is unprecedented. And there’s more to come — the deadline for bill introduction is not until March 8.

New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s national gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action, along with their policy partners at Texas Gun Sense, continue working with anti-gun lawmakers to file countless misguided proposals that restrict your Second Amendment rights. Don’t be fooled by attempts to package these bills as “sensible public safety measures” or “common-sense solutions to gun violence” — they are part of Bloomberg’s radical agenda that targets law-abiding gun owners.

We reported to you last month on some of that legislation. Since then, even more gun control measures have been introduced, including but not limited to:

House Bill 930 by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) repeals the Lone Star State’s “Castle Doctrine” law.

House Bill 1163 by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) allows municipalities with a population of more than 750,000 to vote on whether to prohibit License To Carry holders from openly carrying handguns within city limits.

House Bill 1164 by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) expands the prohibited places that apply to License to Carry (LTC) holders in Penal Code Section 46.035 to include facilities such as golf courses, amphitheaters, auditoriums, theaters, museums, zoos, botanical gardens, civic centers and convention centers, provided they are posted off-limits.

House Bill 1169 by Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) creates the offense of knowingly selling a firearm to another at a gun show without conducting the transfer through a licensed dealer, which would involve completing extensive federal paperwork and payment of an undetermined fee.

House Bill 1207 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) makes it a crime for a person to fail to report a lost or stolen firearm within five days of the person becoming aware that the gun was lost or stolen.

House Bill 1236 by Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) allows public colleges and universities to opt-out of Texas’ campus carry law. (An identical bill, HB 1173, was also filed by Rep. Rafael Anchia.)

We also reported to you last month on several pro-Second Amendment measures that had been introduced early in session; these additional pro-gun reform measures have been filed since then:

House Bill 1009 by Rep. Will Metcalf (R-Conroe) clarifies the definition of “school-sponsored activity” in the Texas Penal Code to avoid the establishment of roving gun-free zones in buildings or areas that are not owned by or under the control of a school or postsecondary educational institution.

House Bill 1143 by Rep. Cole Hefner (R-Mount Pleasant) limits the authority of school districts to regulate the manner in which firearms and ammunition are stored in private motor vehicles parked on school property (including by school employees).

House Bill 1149 by Rep. James White (R-Woodville) ties eligibility for a License To Carry a handgun to the ability to purchase a firearm.

House Bill 1177 by Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) & Senate Bill 506 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) protect citizens from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun while evacuating from an area subject to a mandatory order issued during a declared state or local disaster, or while returning home.

House Bill 1231 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van) & Senate Bill 535 by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) repeals the prohibition on carrying in churches or other places of worship.

Senate Bill 472 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) protects the rights of tenants to lawfully possess firearms in their residential or commercial rental properties and to transport their guns between their personal vehicles and those locations.

Be sure to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose the bad bills and support the good ones!

 

Do You Have the Right to Stand Your Ground?

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How clear are “stand your ground” laws? Jason Hanson shares his thoughts. KEEP READING

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by Jason Hanson

On July 19, 2018, Markeis McGlockton was shot and killed outside a convenience store in Clearwater, Florida, after a confrontation with a legally armed citizen.

The man who shot him was identified as Michael Drejka, who McGlockton shoved to the ground for confronting McGlockton’s girlfriend over a parking space.

Initially, Drejka was not arrested because the Pinellas County sheriff stated that “stand your ground” law applies to this case since Drejka feared a further attack after being shoved to the ground.

After a review of the case by Florida State Attorney Bernie McCabe, Drejka, 48, was charged with manslaughter and booked into the Pinellas County Jail. His bail was set at $100,000.

A Matter of Seconds
You’ve probably seen the surveillance video of this incident all over the news. According to law enforcement, there were four–five seconds between Drejka hitting the ground and him firing the deadly shot.

In addition, detectives estimated the men were about 10 feet apart. Here’s the thing. McGlockton no doubt violently shoved Drejka to the ground. In the video, it appears McGlockton did not back away after shoving Drejka until he saw the gun.

This begs the following questions: Could McGlockton have seriously injured or killed Drejka if he continued attacking him? He could have. Even though Drejka was shoved to the ground, was McGlockton still a threat? Maybe. Was Drejka truly in fear for his life? He says so.

The thing is we could talk “what ifs” about this case all day, but the fact remains that one man is dead and another’s life is devastated over a parking spot and a shove to the ground.

While this case will play out for a long time to come, I want to share with you the basic elements of stand your ground laws and the “castle doctrine,” which relates to protecting yourself at home.

Protect Your Person
Remember, I’m not a lawyer and I’m only stating my thoughts regarding these types of laws. You should always consult with an attorney in your state regarding these laws.

One of the most well-known states with a stand your ground law is Florida because of the case mentioned above and similar cases such as the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Many states have laws similar to Florida’s, which basically states a person is justified in using deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or others. It also states a person does not have a duty to retreat as long as they are in a place where they have the right to be.

So if we use this definition to examine the case above, both men were in a place they had the right to be. The question that remains is did Drejka reasonably believe that he had to use deadly force to prevent death or bodily harm to himself? Imagine if you were Drejka. He was forcefully shoved to the ground, he was probably afraid, his heart was pounding — what would you do?

On the other hand, could Drejka have simply stood up and walked away from McGlockton? Was McGlockton going to pursue him? Obviously, these are answers that will play out in court.

However, the key thing to remember is that you have to believe the person is still a threat to justify using deadly force.

Protect Your Property
In addition to “stand your ground,” another controversial law is the “castle doctrine”. Many states have some type of castle doctrine law, which says a person has the legal right to defend themselves with the use of deadly force against an intruder in their home or other property.

Under this legal theory, the homeowner is not required to retreat, but may stand their ground to defend themselves, their home or their property. Now, this law is more straightforward than stand your ground because it’s pretty reasonable that every person should be able to defend his or her family from an intruder in their home.

In other words, if someone is inside your home, they are committing a crime and you have every right to protect your family.

However, one of the times this law was disputed was in the 2014 case of a Montana man named Markus Kaarma, who shot a young man in his garage. Kaarma had been the victim of a home burglary, so he stayed up at night in case the burglars came back.

Prosecutors argued that Kaarma lured the young man into the garage by leaving it open and that Markus was staying up all night to enact revenge for the previous burglary. The young man who died was committing a crime when he entered the garage, but the jury decided the homeowner deliberately lured the young man there before he killed him.

The Bottom Line
These types of laws will always be contested and are easily affected by our political climate. But what it really comes down to is common sense: Is the person still a threat, and can they still kill you?

If someone kicks in your door at 3:00 a.m. and runs at you in your house, then by all means they’re a threat. But if someone tries to kick in your door at 3:00 a.m. and you yell that you’ve got a gun and they take off down the street… Don’t go chasing them and shoot them in the back because they’re no longer a threat.

WHAT YOU YOU THINK?

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

Is That a Home Invader or a Police Officer Executing a No-Knock Warrant?

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Gun owners across the country may want to keep track of what is scheduled to be a September capital murder trial in central Texas, because it illustrates a nightmare scenario for home defenders: A homeowner shoots and kills a law-enforcement officer whom the homeowner had reason to believe was an intruder that might do the homeowner harm.

We asked Emily Taylor, an attorney with the law firm of Walker & Byington in Houston and a Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney, to shed some light on how the law in her state works in situations where a homeowner mistakenly shoots and kills a law-enforcement officer.

  • Background

Marvin Louis Guy, 51, is alleged to have shot and killed police officer Charles Dinwiddie, who was part of a team with a warrant to conduct a no-knock search at Mr. Guy’s home on May 9, 2014. Mr. Guy is also alleged to have wounded three other policemen, David Daniels, Xavier Clark, and Otis Denton, during the narcotics raid that took place around 5:30 a.m. that fateful day. Click here and here for more background. The officers didn’t find anything, for the record.

Marvin Louis Guy. Jail photo.
Marvin Louis Guy. Jail photo.
  • What is Capital Murder?

Taylor explained that there are several ways to commit capital murder. She elaborated that “of the ways to commit capital murder, we are looking at the ‘biggie’ here — a person who murders a peace officer, who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer, commits capital murder.

This is worse than your run-of-the-mill homicide because if you’re convicted of capital murder, you’re eligible for the death penalty. The alternative isn’t much better; life in prison without parole. Taylor summarized that, “for this individual to avoid a life sentence without parole, or worse, the death penalty, the most important issues are: were the police in lawful discharge of their duties; did the individual in question know that it was a police officer entering his home; and finally, is there evidence that indicates the shooting was reasonable and justified.”

  • Why didn’t the police knock and announce who they were before entering the home?

“The general rule is that the police must ‘knock and announce’ their presence prior to entering a premises to execute a warrant,” Taylor said. She elaborated that there is an exception to this requirement. “If the police can articulate a reasonable suspicion to believe that if they knocked or announced before entering it would be ‘dangerous, futile, or would frustrate the search’s purpose,’ then they no longer have to knock and announce.”

Taylor stated that there are two ways to accomplish this “no-knock” goal. The police can ask in the warrant itself that it dispense with the knock-and-announce requirement. Alternatively, they may claim that the circumstances on-scene surrounding the actual search justified dispensing with the knock-and-announce requirement at the time the warrant was executed—no prior approval needed.

How hard is it for the police to satisfy this requirement? In practice, the potential for the destruction of evidence and concerns of officer safety will almost always supersede the knock-and-announce rule.

So what does this mean? Taylor said, “It is pretty easy for the police to legally break down your door to execute their warrant, without any warning to you.”

  • What about the Castle Doctrine?

Taylor made it a point to mention that “People who are familiar with the law in Texas will immediately ask, ‘isn’t this a Castle Doctrine situation?’ which is a good point to make.” She referenced the Castle Doctrine law, which says you are presumed reasonable to use deadly force to defend yourself when a person has unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter, your occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment.

Taylor’s analysis was that, “the Castle Doctrine requires that the entry be unlawful. In this case, the police had obtained a warrant and thus had a legal right to enter the property by any means they deemed necessary, such as by executing a no-knock warrant.” This means that the homeowner does not get the advantage of the Castle Doctrine (namely, that his use of deadly force is presumed reasonable) and we must analyze the reasonableness of his deadly force as though he were not in his “Castle.”

  • Did the homeowner know that the person crawling through his window at 5:30 AM was a peace officer?

To summarize, the no-knock entrance was legal, and the Castle Doctrine does not apply. The defense can only effectively argue the remaining option; that the elements of the crime of capital murder have not been met, and that the use of deadly force was reasonable and justified.

There is no question that the officers were acting in the lawful discharge of their duties. So the only issue that can negate capital murder lies in whether or not the homeowner knew, or should have known, that it was a peace officer coming through his window. In other words, a “mistake of fact,” in which the homeowner believed it was your run-of-the-mill intruder slipping through the window that morning.

What are the facts to be considered? Things like whether the police officer identified himself as he slipped into the home, were there police lights or sirens outside, was the police officer wearing anything that had POLICE written on the front.

Taylor explained that “a mistake of fact needs to be both honest and reasonable.” She elaborated that “honest” means he really didn’t know the man was a peace officer, and “reasonable” means an ordinary and prudent person in the same situation would not have known the man was a peace officer.

If the jury believes he committed an honest and reasonable mistake of fact as to the man’s identity as a peace officer, and that he used deadly force based upon his reasonable belief that it was immediately necessary to defend himself from a burglar/home invader, then he did not commit capital murder.

Ultimately, this comes down to whether or not the jury of 12 random people believe that he didn’t know it was a police officer entering his home.

Taylor concluded by saying, “Whether or not the homeowner can succeed, and avoid both the death penalty or a life sentence without parole, will depend entirely on the evidence presented, and the jury sitting in front of him that day.”

And in a recent development, Mr. Guy says it was police gunfire that struck the officers, not his shots. That assertion was made in a federal civil rights complaint Mr. Guy filed, court records show.

How do you think this will resolve? If you were on the jury, which way would you be leaning based on the incomplete facts presented so far?