‘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.
The 10th Annual Filipino Festival will be held Aug. 7-8 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 8200 Woodman Rd., beginning with opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday and continuing with live entertainment, food and exhibits until 10 p.m. On Saturday the festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a full schedule of performances featuring traditional Filipino dance, music and song.
Filipino cuisine, including BBQ, pansit, lumpia, adobo, halo-halo, lechon, empanada and leche flan, will be available for purchase. The festival will also feature a children's area, church tours, exhibits, and health screenings. > Read more.
The Children’s Museum of Richmond last week opened its new Short Pump location at Short Pump Town Center, to the delight of children who attended a sneak preview of the location July 10. The new facility, located under the forthcoming LL Bean store (formerly the food court) is 8,500 square feet in size – much larger than CMoR’s former Short Pump location at West Broad Village, which opened in 2010. The new space includes The CarMax Foundation Service Station, the Silver Diner, a grocery store, a performance stage and an art studio, as well as a giant Light Bright Wall. > Read more.
The Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Henrico Police are both presenting community events tomorrow, Aug. 1. The Feria Community Resource Fair at Richmond International Raceway brings together community service providers, embassies/consulates from Latin American countries, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and corporations that impact the Latino community. The Division of Police’s Community Day will feature demonstrations and displays from police, fire, animal protection and sheriff’s office, as well as family activities, food, entertainment and more. Other events this weekend include wine, chess and theatre! For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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