East Texans Weigh In On Proposed Self Defense Bill - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/15/06-Longview

East Texans Weigh In On Proposed Self Defense Bill

Some East Texans are supporting a proposed bill from a state legislator that would give more rights to individuals defending their life and property against attackers.  The proposed bill is authored by a Republican state senator from San Antonio.

"The victim is clearly not the intruder the lawbreaker.  It's the homeowner.  This is just common sense that's what this bill is about," senator Jeff Wentworth told KLTV 7 News.

Wentworth's proposed bill would give the right to use deadly force, without having to suffer the repercussions of a lawsuit from the intruder or intruder's family.

For some like Mickie Clotz, who's had her Longview home burglarized several times, the bill makes perfect sense.  "Why should we live in fear that if we're protecting our family or property that they, who are in the wrong for being where they don't belong, have the right to sue us," says Clotz.

A recent case in point is the Parade of Homes shooting, where a homeowner fatally shot a teenage intruder.  A grand jury did not return an indictment.

Some say the laws already on the books are enough.  "We now have in the penal code, eight separate sections dealing with defense of persons, third parties, property... This bill seems to me to be somewhat overkill or a flash point bill that's probably not necessary," said Longview attorney Ken Walker.

"We've always had a law on the books that allows people to basically protect themselves, their property, someone else.  Should it be passed, I just hope it doesn't become one of those bills that's widely abused," said Longview Police Department Sergeant Shaun Pendleton.

"I don't think if it were you or I if we're in our home and it's being broken into by a lawbreaker we should have to decide whether that person is armed or the gun is loaded," Wentworth said.

But some worry that this bill goes too far.  "Someone could contrive 'I have the right to stand my ground', and use deadly force when I see fit," Walker said.

The proposed bill has not become law.  Wentworth will submit his bill in November, and it could go before legislators in the spring session of 2007.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting.  bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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