‘Castle Doctrine’ is closer to becoming law
Citizens looking for more personal protection can rest easy after two bills that would allow the use of deadly force in one’s home moved forward this week in the General Assembly.
Staunton Delegate Robert “Dickie” Bell’s House Bill 48, better known as the “Castle Doctrine,” won an endorsement Friday from the House Courts of Justice Committee. The vote was 12-6. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
The Castle Doctrine, which is law in 31 states, states that people can use physical or deadly force against intruders in their home if they believe the intruder could hurt them or if an intruder commits an overt act against them.
Bell, a Republican, said the original draft of HB 48 was identical to Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Montross. The Senate passed Stuart’s bill, 23-17, on Thursday.
The House bill was amended in subcommittee last week to add the word “serious” to the threat of bodily injury that people must believe they face before deadly force is justified.
With the amendments, the chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee, Delegate Dave Albo, R-Springfield, was still hesitant to move forward with the bill.
Bell introduced the bill as a codification of what is already common law in Virginia. But Albo said that without the word “reasonable,” it is not an accurate representation of common law.
“Common law says the response has to be proportional,” Albo said at the committee meeting. Adoption of HB 48 would be “taking ‘reasonable response’ out of the law.”
No citizens or groups came to speak in favor of or in opposition to the bill. But Delegate Robert Bell, R-Charlottesville, a member of the committee, voiced support for HB 48.
“Common law doesn’t provide enough protection in their own home,” he said. “The goal of this bill is to say there are certain things to do within your home to protect yourself.”
How They Voted
Here is how the Senate voted on Thursday on “SB 4 Castle doctrine; self-defense and defense of others.”
Floor: 02/02/12 Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (23-Y 17-N)
YEAS – Black, Blevins, Carrico, Garrett, Hanger, Martin, McDougle, McWaters, Newman, Norment, Northam, Obenshain, Petersen, Puckett, Reeves, Ruff, Smith, Stanley, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Watkins – 23.
NAYS – Barker, Colgan, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Herring, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Marsh, McEachin, Miller, J.C., Miller, Y.B., Puller, Saslaw – 17.
Here is how the House Courts of Justice Committee voted on Friday on “HB 48 Castle doctrine; self-defense and defense of others.”
02/03/12 House: Reported from Courts of Justice with amendments (12-Y 6-N)
YEAS – Kilgore, Bell, Robert B., Cline, Iaquinto, Gilbert, Miller, Loupassi, Villanueva, Farrell, Minchew, Morris, Johnson – 12.
NAYS – Albo, Habeeb, Watts, Toscano, Herring, McClellan – 6.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/16/2013
Virginia Blood Services (VBS), the sole supplier of blood for more than 20 hospitals throughout the state of Virginia, is in need of blood donors to help replenish the local blood supply over the holidays.
A decline in blood donations is typical during the winter months as people become busy with holiday activities and travel. Patient needs remain steady, however, making it important for people to visit a VBS donor site or mobile drive to give blood. > Read more.
In Varina, one of the most anticipated events of the season is approaching. The 19th Annual Big Toy Parade will return on Dec 14, offering a “homey,” small-town feel that helps elicit holiday spirit among participants and spectators alike.
The parade, which begins at 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Battlefield Ruritans and Henrico County Parks and Recreation and is held in conjunction with the James River Boat Parade. It is led by a grand marshal along Old Osborne Turnpike and ends at the Osborne Boat Landing, where hundreds of community members gather to await nightfall and the arrival of lighted boats, concluding a festive holiday celebration. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/03/2013
The region's two premier youth soccer organizations – the Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers – have partnered to create Richmond United, a cost-free U.S. Soccer Development Academy program designed to serve the most talented players in the region. The arrangement marks the first time in U.S. Soccer Development Academy history that two member clubs have united their respective Academy programs.
Slated to begin play in the fall of 2014, Richmond United will field U13/14, U15/16 and U17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. The teams will train and play home games at two of the top soccer specific complexes in the nation, Ukrop Park and Striker Park. > Read more.
It’s the final weekend before Christmas – but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare! Relax with half-a-million twinkling lights, enjoy Theatre IV on Tour’s production of “A Christmas Carol” or experience the 11th annual “Miracle of Christmas – Live at the Metro Richmond Zoo.” Another way to relax before the Big Day is with a good book. You can find a vast array of books, covering many genres, and meet authors at the Celebrate with a Book event on Saturday. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
A number of Henrico students are performing in the Richmond Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, which runs through Dec. 23. Pictured above, left to right are: back row – Elizabeth Sjovald (Mother Ginger), Deema Meguid, Maya Link (Mogi top) and Sophie Rounds (Mother Ginger) and front row – Sarah Echols (Chinese) and Carter Echols (Chinese). > Read more.
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