In 2011 the “Castle Doctrine” law went into effect in North Carolina. This law allows anyone to use "deadly
force" if they feel threatened without the fear of civil or criminal accountability. This law extended far past someone's "castle" and includes their car and office.
On February 26, 2012 this country experienced the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, the teenager shot and killed while armed with nothing more than a bag of skittles. A similar law in Florida protected Trayvon’s shooter for far too long.
Yet Trayvon was not the first (or last) victim of these vigilante laws. Since passing in 2005, the number of “justifiable” deaths has almost tripled to an average of 35 a year, an increase of 283% from 2005-2010. In fact, Florida's Stand Your Ground Law been used to free gang members, drug dealers and even people who shot their victims in the back.
In South Carolina since enacting its “Shoot First” law, so-called ‘justifiable homicides’ increased in the state -- 45% compared to the four years prior. It's not too late to prevent this tragedy and injustice in North Carolina.103 signatures
Recognizing the impending threat to North Carolina families several brave legislators have attempted to pass legislation to amend or repeal NC's Castle Doctrine. To date these efforts have been defeated by extremist lawmakers beholden to the gun industry.
Sign below to show your support for the repeal of the Castle Doctrine
Since the expansion of the Castle Doctrine in December 2011, every argument, altercation, and confrontation has the potential added element of a weapon. The intent maybe different, as written, but the results are not.
Trayvon Martin is only one story of how the gun laws have enabled the over-zealous to "shoot first." Elected officials across the country are already speaking out against "shoot first" laws, and many of the original supporters of the legislation have made it clear that given a second chance, they would oppose “Shoot First.”
Fourteen NC Representatives have taken a second look at the new version of the law. Ours is similar to the one in Florida, which enabled George Zimmerman to shoot unarmed Trayvon Martin because he claims he thought the teen posed a threat in his neighborhood. The bill they introduced, HB 1192, titled “Amend Castle Doctrine/Repeal Stand Ground” is a reasonable law. We will all still be able to protect our homes and families if necessary.
Contact your representative now! Then send the link below to your family and friends so they can contact their representatives as well!
More on the law as it is now -
Castle Doctrine: Legalizes Murder and Vigilantism
In North Carolina every citizen has the right to use deadly force to defend themselves or their families. If someone protects themselves with force they will not be prosecuted as long as they had no opportunity to retreat. Our current law removes this “duty to retreat” and is an invitation to the reckless use of deadly force.
Where Does Your Castle End?
The “Castle Doctrine” implies that this law applies only to a home or residence. However our current law extends past the individual’s home to their workplace, and vehicle. The shooter could receive immunity for shooting recklessly into a crowd, as long as he thought he was in serious danger. This law provides the shooter civil and criminal immunity for any death or injury whether to a hardened criminal or a helpless child who was only a by-stander.
Encourages and Excuses Vigilantism
America’s police officers undergo months of intensive training to learn the judicious use of deadly force in a public setting. They learn, through that training that the use of deadly force in public is excruciatingly dangerous, and that innocent bystanders can easily be injured or killed. Police leaders and prosecutors in numerous states are concerned these laws will send a message of empowerment to the most aggressive individuals in society – that rather than serve to defend people who use deadly force in a truly life-threatening situation, it will serve as an excuse to edgy individuals.
Who Does this Law Endanger? You.
This law provides protection for someone using deadly force -- it provides no protections for the innocent victims caught in the crossfire. Worse yet this law directly threatens North Carolinians whose jobs require them to visit others homes and properties. For example a social worker on an unannounced home visit, volunteers distributing materials door to door, or even a mailman delivering a package.
The Threat is Real.
After passing similar legislation:
Kenneth Allen, 58, twice shot his neighbor, Jason Rosenbloom, 30, in early June 2006. Rosenbloom went to Allen’s house about a complaint filed. “I was no threat. I had no weapon… He had a gun. I turned around to put my hands up. He didn’t even say a word, and he fired once into my stomach. I bent over, and he shot me in the chest,” Rosenbloom told the New York Times. [New York Times, 8-7-06]
Christopher Cote, 19, of The Acreage, Florida was shot twice with a shotgun and killed by his neighbor, Jose Tapanes, 62, September 17 after an argument began when Cote walked his dog on Tapanes’ property. Tapanes has been charged with first-degree murder and has argued that the new Florida law gave him the right to kill the teen. [Miami Herald, 9-18-06]
Gary Lee Hill got in an argument with a group of people at his house. There was a physical fight, but as the group of people drove away, Hill walked out away from his house with a gun, and shot one of the group, John Lee Knott, in the back. Mr. Hill was found “not guilty’ according to the standards of Colorado’s “Shoot First” law.
Someone should put up huge billboards across the state with the image of doe-eyed little Katterine Palma. The signs should serve as in-your-face reminders of what can be lost when adults are careless with firearms. Sweet-faced, 4-year-old Katterine is dead, killed by another child who found a loaded gun an adult left unlocked in a bedroom.
That adult, Erin Melendez, 37, was charged Saturday with storing a gun in a manner accessible to a minor. Katterine was reportedly the 4-year-old niece of Mirna Palma. Melendez lived with Mirna Palma at the apartment where the shooting took place.
Palma's 3-year-old son and 11-year-old nephew - Katterine's brother - were in the bedroom at the time of the shooting. Police said the shooting was accidental. They haven't said who pulled the trigger.
Neither child should have to bear the weight of the responsibility for such an incident. To kids that young, guns are curiosities and often viewed as playthings. To a three-year-old especially, it would be hard to fathom that it could end a life.
But adults do understand. That's why they have enormous responsibility to keep lethal weapons out of the reach of children. When adults fail, tragic things can and do happen. Katterine, lying in a pool of blood, is the sad proof.
Here are some facts you should know about firearms in this state and nation:
Interview with WRAL on repercussions of House Bill 650 and NCGV's campaign to keep guns off city playgrounds and athletic fields.
Durham Herald Letter to the Editor by Board Member Sandy Ogburn
Smoking banned in parks where guns are welcome?
Durham city and county leaders, urged by the Health Department, are contemplating expansion of the ban on smoking in public areas. This is being done for public safety since all of us are at increased risk of the deleterious health effects from second hand smoke. This is good.
On Dec. 1, provisions of NC House Bill 650 become effective. This new state law prohibits local governments from banning the carrying of permitted concealed handguns onto local government property — including parks and recreation areas. This does not make me feel safe. I wonder how many families taking children to our playgrounds or going to sporting events at our playing fields know about this new law. How are families supposed to enjoy the otherwise healthy activities that take place at recreational facilities if they must worry that the person next to them might be carrying a loaded weapon?
By now you probably know about the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down in Florida by a man who said he was defending himself from a 17 year old boy armed with Skittles and an iced tea. Part of the reason this man, George Zimmerman, has not yet been arrested is because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. This law gives the benefit of the doubt to those who use deadly force when they feel threatened. Under the Stand Your Ground law, an individual does not have the responsibility to retreat, even when they may do so safely.
What you may not know is that the Florida law is just one of 21 similar laws passed around the country in recent years. One of those 21 laws was passed in North Carolina last year—the Castle Doctrine Law (House Bill 650). Castle Doctrine implies that this legislation applies only to a home or residence. However, HB 650 extends past the individual’s home to their workplace or vehicle. Making them immune to civil or criminal prosecution if they claim they felt threatened or in danger.
Since the Stand Your Ground law went into effect in Florida, the number of justifiable homicides has tripled. And a young life was tragically cut short because of a claim of self-defense. It’s time for Florida, North Carolina, and states across this country to take a hard look at these Stand Your Ground Laws. Changes need to be made before another tragedy occurs.
Despite the controversy surrounding the issue, the majority of voters favor common sense gun laws.
Here in North Carolina voters, including gun owners, support background checks and permits which can keep guns out of the wrong hands.
• 90% of North Carolina voters support background checks on all gun sales, this includes 87% of reported gun owners.
• Background checks have bi-partisan support; including 86% of Republicans and 87% of self-identified ‘conservatives’.
• 67% of North Carolina voters support county permits for handguns, this includes 57% of reported gun owners.
• Handgun permits also have bi-partisan support; including 62% of Republicans and 59% of self-identified ‘conservatives’.
Nationwide: Voters, including gun owners, support sensible gun laws which close legal gaps to keep guns out of the wrong hands
• 90 percent of Americans and 90 percent of gun owners support fixing gaps in government databases that are meant to prevent the mentally ill, drug abusers and others from buying guns.
• 91 percent of Americans and 93 percent of gun owners support requiring federal agencies to share information about suspected dangerous persons or terrorists to prevent them from buying guns.
• 86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from.
• 89 percent of Americans and 85 percent of gun owners support a law to require background checks for all guns sold at gun shows.
• 51% of voters feel the laws covering the sale of guns should be made more strict and 39% support keeping our current gun laws, only 7% of voters think current gun laws should be less strict
• 81% of voters support laws tracking the bulk purchase of assault rifles
• 57 % of voters reported feeling less safe knowing people can carry loaded, concealed guns in public**
• 74% of Americans and 70% of gun owners believe our government can both protect gun owners' rights, and simultaneously prevent criminals and other dangerous people from having guns.
• In the aftermath of the assassination attempt in Tucson 50% of Americans believe we should make it harder for dangerous people to have access to guns.
Download this Fact Sheet
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