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Citizens Self-Defense Act 2009!

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I urge everyone to take a minute to just drop an e-mail to your congressman on this.

If you do not know who your congressman is, find him/her here:

https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

Go to that person's website and take 3 minutes to send an e-mail. Believe me, your voice matters. Here is the note I sent that you could use as a basis for your own if you are not sure what to say:

Dear Congressman So and So,
I am writing to urge you to support H.R. 17, the Citizen's Self-Defense Act. It is insanity to me that we actually need a law to confirm one's right to self-defense, but in this litigious society, unfortunately, we do. We also need this affirmation of the 2nd amendment and what it means to normal people--to protect your life and home. H.R. 17 is a common-sense law that should be passed and I hope that I can count on you to support it.

Kind Regards,

YOUR NAME HERE!


Here is the bill:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-17

The Citizen's Self Defense Act

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 17

To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 6, 2009

Mr. BARTLETT introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A BILL

To protect the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of self, family, or home, and to provide for the enforcement of such right.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 2009’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

The Congress finds the following:

(1) Police cannot protect, and are not legally liable for failing to protect, individual citizens, as evidenced by the following:

(A) The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general. For example, in Warren v. District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App. 1981), the court stated: ‘[C]ourts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community.’.

(B) Former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith told Florida legislators that police responded to only 200,000 of 700,000 calls for help to Dade County authorities.

(C) The United States Department of Justice found that, in 1989, there were 168,881 crimes of violence for which police had not responded within 1 hour.

(2) Citizens frequently must use firearms to defend themselves, as evidenced by the following:

(A) Every year, more than 2,400,000 people in the United States use a gun to defend themselves against criminals--or more than 6,500 people a day. This means that, each year, firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.

(B) Of the 2,400,000 self-defense cases, more than 192,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse.

(C) Of the 2,400,000 times citizens use their guns to defend themselves every year, 92 percent merely brandish their gun or fire a warning shot to scare off their attackers. Less than 8 percent of the time, does a citizen kill or wound his or her attacker.

(3) Law-abiding citizens, seeking only to provide for their families’ defense, are routinely prosecuted for brandishing or using a firearm in self-defense. For example:

(A) In 1986, Don Bennett of Oak Park, Illinois, was shot at by 2 men who had just stolen $1,200 in cash and jewelry from his suburban Chicago service station. The police arrested Bennett for violating Oak Park’s handgun ban. The police never caught the actual criminals.

(B) Ronald Biggs, a resident of Goldsboro, North Carolina, was arrested for shooting an intruder in 1990. Four men broke into Biggs’ residence one night, ransacked the home and then assaulted him with a baseball bat. When Biggs attempted to escape through the back door, the group chased him and Biggs turned and shot one of the assailants in the stomach. Biggs was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon--a felony. His assailants were charged with misdemeanors.

(C) Don Campbell of Port Huron, Michigan, was arrested, jailed, and criminally charged after he shot a criminal assailant in 1991. The thief had broken into Campbell’s store and attacked him. The prosecutor plea-bargained with the assailant and planned to use him to testify against Campbell for felonious use of a firearm. Only after intense community pressure did the prosecutor finally drop the charges.

(4) The courts have granted immunity from prosecution to police officers who use firearms in the line of duty. Similarly, law-abiding citizens who use firearms to protect themselves, their families, and their homes against violent felons should not be subject to lawsuits by the violent felons who sought to victimize them.

SEC. 3. RIGHT TO OBTAIN FIREARMS FOR SECURITY, AND TO USE FIREARMS IN DEFENSE OF SELF, FAMILY, OR HOME; ENFORCEMENT.

(a) Reaffirmation of Right- A person not prohibited from receiving a firearm by Section 922(g) of title 18, United States Code, shall have the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms--

(1) in defense of self or family against a reasonably perceived threat of imminent and unlawful infliction of serious bodily injury;

(2) in defense of self or family in the course of the commission by another person of a violent felony against the person or a member of the person’s family; and

(3) in defense of the person’s home in the course of the commission of a felony by another person.

(b) Firearm Defined- As used in subsection (a), the term ‘firearm’ means--

(1) a shotgun (as defined in section 921(a)(5) of title 18, United States Code);

(2) a rifle (as defined in section 921(a)(7) of title 18, United States Code); or

(3) a handgun (as defined in section 10 of Public Law 99-408).

(c) Enforcement of Right-

(1) IN GENERAL- A person whose right under subsection (a) is violated in any manner may bring an action in any United States district court against the United States, any State, or any person for damages, injunctive relief, and such other relief as the court deems appropriate.

(2) AUTHORITY TO AWARD A REASONABLE ATTORNEY’S FEE- In an action brought under paragraph (1), the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs.

(3) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS- An action may not be brought under paragraph (1) after the 5-year period that begins with the date the violation described in paragraph (1) is discovered.
 
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Is it not possible that signing off on a bill at the federal level that defines rights not potentially be harmful? Once a law is on the books then there are more clearly defined lines for turning good guys into bad guys by merely violating some obscure bit of some law, which can then be used against said good guy by some ambitious DA with an agenda.

I am still firmly on the ground that the Fed Gov't shall not infringe our right to keep and bear arms, and past that the laws should be up to the individual states.
 
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Is it not possible that signing off on a bill at the federal level that defines rights not potentially be harmful?

Read the wording of the bill. They are not defining any rights in the above proposed legislation. It is 'reaffirming' rights that we already have, in order to attempt to keep the states from taking those rights from us. Nothing in the above bill says that those are the ONLY rights we have to possess firearms, only that those are DEFINITELY rights that we have. You'd hope that 2A is all that is needed, but clearly, based upon the ridiculous state laws that some of us live under, more affirmation of our rights at a federal level is needed.
 

terraformer

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Read the wording of the bill. They are not defining any rights in the above proposed legislation. It is 'reaffirming' rights that we already have, in order to attempt to keep the states from taking those rights from us. Nothing in the above bill says that those are the ONLY rights we have to possess firearms, only that those are DEFINITELY rights that we have. You'd hope that 2A is all that is needed, but clearly, based upon the ridiculous state laws that some of us live under, more affirmation of our rights at a federal level is needed.

Two interesting points in the law.

* (a) Reaffirmation of Right- A person not prohibited from receiving a firearm by Section 922(g) of title 18, United States Code, shall have the right to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms--
* in defense of the person’s home in the course of the commission of a felony by another person.

This actually broadens what we can do here in MA. It allows for protection of property and forces LTCs (with restrictions) to be shall issue. Depending on how aggressively you read it, it could make ALP shall issue too.

Secondly they limit the defense to handguns, shotguns and rifles. No MGs, SBRs and AOWs. Not that the former are common in SD situations, but the latter two are good HD firearms. Am I reading that right?
 
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Secondly they limit the defense to handguns, shotguns and rifles. No MGs, SBRs and AOWs. Not that the former are common in SD situations, but the latter two are good HD firearms. Am I reading that right?

I think they didn't want to step on the NFA, because you could claim that the necessary tax stamp was limiting your rights to possess those guns. But again, this law isn't saying that you can't defend your home with, say, an SBR. It's just not offering protection against state laws saying you can't.

But I'm also not sure how much protection this law would offer, as I'm not sure this kind of federal law would trump more restrictive state laws (which is why you see a lot of "gun which as been involved in interstate travel or commerce" type phrases in the GCA).
 
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These bills just irritate the hell out of me. Maybe the guy introducing this bill is serious, but at this point I don't care. If the republicans in general were serious about gun rights or rights of self defense, then they could have passed legislation like this during the Bush administration. Bush wasn't serious about gun rights / rights of self defense, and neither was the republican leadership. Now that we have an even worse government in power, out come the republicans to offer this symbolic crap in an obvious attempt to gain favor with people like us. Screw them. There is no way that the dems will allow any bill like this on the floor, and there is even less of a chance that Obama would sign. In my view, sending letters of support just encourages these asses to continue their crass and shallow behavior. Ignore them. They deserve it.
 
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I agree that it has a terrible chance of actually passing. What is important is that our representatives hear from us regularly and loudly so they know we are paying attention. The average congressman doesn't actually get all that much mail and feedback from his constituents. If 50 people take the time to contact him on a subject, it gets his attention. We need to make the reps understand that if they screw us, we will vote for someone else. Gun owners, myself included, have become far too complacent under Bush. Obama is the anti-Christ and we need to get a plan together or we are going to get steam-rolled. Joining the NRA and GOAL and letting them do our fighting is not going to work. Yes, join them and help them fight. But "grassroots" works. It's a numbers game. We need to show numbers and support for the issue we care about to get attention. The squeeky wheel gets the grease.
 
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The only thing I don't like about this is it does not define the right to use deadly force to protect a friend or any other non-family third party. That means that if you are carrying in a public place and witness someone in the act of committing a forcible felony against your best friend, your girlfriend, your neighbor, your coworkers, you have no legal right to intervene with force. I realize most of us would rather be judged by 12 in this situation but I feel there should be at least some language in the bill allowing for the defense of at the very least people you have a prior/existing relationship with.

Don't get me wrong, I fully support this bill. I just think it leaves a huge loophole that many will undoubtedly fall into.
 
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That means that if you are carrying in a public place and witness someone in the act of committing a forcible felony against your best friend, your girlfriend, your neighbor, your coworkers, you have no legal right to intervene with force.

Actually, it just means you have no specific federal affirmation of your legal right to do that. Whether you have a legal right to do that or not would depend upon your state laws. I agree though, that missing piece stood out to me as well.
 
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