Deadly Force Bill To Be Revisited


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CONCORD, N.H. -- Four years ago, Gov. John Lynch blocked gun rights advocates' effort to expand a person's right to use deadly force in self-defense without first attempting to retreat.

The legislation will be back this coming year, and this time, Lynch may not be able to stop its passage.

In his veto message blocking the 2006 gun bill, the Democratic Lynch said he wanted to avoid a law that "would authorize any shopper to instantly shoot and kill a thief who had grabbed or tugged at the shopper's purse or briefcase, regardless of how many shoppers might be placed in harm's way by such actions."

His opposition led to a compromise this year that softened the prohibition against drawing a gun on someone. The new law takes effect Saturday and allows citizens to show a weapon to warn away a potential attacker without facing prosecution.

That law may not stand long, however, before being replaced by the conservative-leaning, Republican House and Senate.

Bills have been filed built on the Castle Doctrine, which says a person has no duty to retreat from intruders before using deadly force. The legislation also would expand citizens' rights to use deadly force in public or anywhere they have a right to be - a principle known as the Stand Your Ground principle.

New Hampshire law allows the use of deadly force inside the home in defense against certain crimes such as rape. Deadly force also can be used in public places to defend someone else or to stop a rape, kidnapping or other serious crime. The law requires citizens to retreat if they can safely, except at home when they are not the aggressor.

Gun rights advocates say people shouldn't be faced with the split-second choice of deciding whether protecting themselves will lead to criminal prosecution against them.

"I shouldn't have to put my pants on to run out the door," said state Sen. Jack Barnes, R-Raymond. "Why should I have to run away? It's my house."

Barnes said he doesn't care where he is, "If they attack me, I have a right to defend myself."

State Rep. Leo Pepino, a Manchester Republican sponsoring one of New Hampshire's bills, said his measure also would protect citizens from being sued by their attackers if the use of force was deemed justified by law enforcement.

Pepino notes that the weapons involved don't have to be guns; they could be a knife or baseball bat, for example.

More than two dozen states have passed either the Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground or both laws.

Last month, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed a bill similar to Pepino's proposal. Rendell criticized the bill as a dangerous solution to a nonexistent problem that would encourage a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality.

Ohio prosecutors say their state's Castle Doctrine is increasingly being manipulated to help murder suspects avoid taking responsibility for their crimes. In one case, a man stole a dealer's drugs, then shot and killed the dealer when he broke a window in the man's car attempting to retrieve his goods. Defense attorneys argued the man acted lawfully. A jury convicted him of reckless homicide rather than murder.

Lynch voiced similar concerns about criminals killing other criminals and claiming self-defense.

Lynch's 2006 veto was with the support of many in law enforcement, including then-Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, now a U.S. senator.

Opponents presented lawmakers with images of shootouts in the street like the old Wild West during the debate on whether to uphold Lynch's veto. Lynch and law enforcement argued they were concerned innocent bystanders would be hurt if people were given more freedom to use guns or other deadly weapons in public.

The Senate voted 11-11 to uphold the veto. As a result, the House didn't vote whether to override it.

Republicans now hold 19 of the 25 Senate seats and 297 of the 400 House seats - enough to override Lynch's vetoes if they can hold together their caucuses on issues. Two-thirds are needed to override a veto.

The outcome could be different this year.

"People shouldn't have to worry about being prosecuted for defending themselves," said Senate President Peter Bragdon, a Milford Republican who sponsored the bill Lynch vetoed in 2006.

See our boy Flynchie veto'd the self defense legislation that overwhelmingly passed the Senate and house. We'll have to wait until September for the Senate to override his veto. I guess ol' Lynchie boy wants to display how useless he truly is during this two year cycle. Until then we wait for reasonable gun legislation.
On matters like this he lets his puppets pull all his strings,the puppet master's are the police chiefs. They start crying that its not safe or they just don't like the bill and he vetoes it. They seem to think we will all turn into death wish wannabes and walk tie streets looking for people to shoot.
This way Lynch gets to talk about how he tried to knock down the bill IF someone does what he says they may do. He can say it was the gun-toting wild west Republicans that made it this way.

I personally don't think it'll happen that way, but the Republicans can show how narrow-minded Lynch is.
Lynch, police make push against Senate bill on self-defense
Aug 23, 2011

MANCHESTER — Police Chief David J. Mara led the governor and top state law officers in a Stations of the Cross tour of urban violence to illustrate their claim that efforts to change the state's self-defense law would imperil citizens while protecting gangsters and thugs.

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It would be nice if the Governor and Chiefs of Police were to become one with the people. The article you mention had the highest number of comments the UL has received since requiring registrations, and the majority of the comments were for the veto override.

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