‘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.
For the third consecutive year, the Canterbury Recreation Association in Short Pump donated the most meals to the fourth-annual "Dunk Hunger" campaign, which raises money and food donations for FeedMore's Central Virginia Food Bank. Swim teams and community pools throughout the region combined to raise the equivalent of 77,404 meals this year, with the Canterbury group earning the Gold Medal, with 17,454 meals contributed.
CRA will earn a winners’ bash Aug. 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. at its pool on Pump Road.
“Our pool has adopted Dunk Hunger into its culture with fun ways to raise food and funds," said Canterbury’s Dunk Hunger chairman Jack McSorley, a Freeman High School junior. > Read more.
The last Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer outdoor concert at West Broad Village, scheduled Saturday, Aug. 22 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Short Pump, will feature a salute to the upcoming UCI Road World Cycling Championships, coming to the Richmond region next month. As an all-girl band entertains the public with an AC/DC and Foreigner tribute, representatives from West Broad Village will accept donations of children’s new and lightly used bicycles for redistribution to youngsters at the Virginia Homes for Boys and Girls. > Read more.
Bifocals at CAT’s first show for CAT’s 52nd season is Thanks Mitch by Pat Walker. Thanks Mitch will play at CAT Theatre on Monday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. and on Friday, Nov. 13 at 2 p.m. The production will also tour the Richmond area.
Mitch and his wife, Verna, are at their niece’s wedding when Mitch has had all the celebrating he can take. Verna settles him and his crossword puzzle book into an easy chair in the room next to the reception and promises to check on him later. Then one wedding guest after another comes into the room agonizing over a personal problem. Mitch keeps doing his crossword puzzle and somehow ends up saving the day. > Read more.
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