My Home is My Castle
By Rick Jones
While reading over some of the newspapers across the state recently, I found an interesting letter to the editor in which a person asked, "If armed felons beat my door in, do I have to worry about legal ramifications if I shoot them?" It really made me think about this and take into consideration some of Ohio's antiquated laws.
Ohio has recently had some sweeping improvements in our gun laws, but there is room for improvement. In cases like the one mentioned above, Ohio still has on the books "a duty to retreat". This means that under certain guidelines of the law, someone breaks into your home you have a duty to leave your home if possible.
To me this sounds like it would be difficult to do. Should the homeowner be forced into using deadly force, who is going to be the victim and who is going to be the criminal? Most homeowners feel the same way I do - if someone breaks into my home at 3 in the morning I don't think they are coming in to borrow a cup of sugar. Ignoring the fact that we've worked hard all our lives to provide a safe and secure home for our loved ones, are we now supposed to roll over and play dead?
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Another question asked by the writer, "Why must victims be forced to appear before grand juries to defend themselves . . .?" The way I see it is because the prosecutor wants to find out IF you followed those certain guidelines of Ohio's antiquated law of "duty to retreat".
There is only one way to deal with something like this and that is to change the law as to how a homeowner deals with criminals. This is the only way we can today help keep our families safe without the fear of possible civil lawsuits, criminal lawsuits, and possible other financial troubles.
An invader into another's home should be dealt with in such a way that the homeowner is not made the criminal when being forced to use deadly force. In days of old, our home (castle) was protected at all costs to keep the residents inside safe from attack and the attackers were dealt with accordingly.
Several other states in this country (including Ohio neighbors Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky) have already put in place laws to protect the homeowners should an instance like this occur. This is referred to as "Castle Doctrine". This simple common sense law does several things for the homeowner and those who protect its occupants. Castle Doctrine would put the blame on the criminal and not the protector of the home, relieve the homeowner of worrying about any type of lawsuit that might be filed by the intruder or their family should deadly force be used and puts the burden of any type of proof of innocence on the criminal.
Ohio needs to update their laws just one more time to make life better for the law-abiding homeowner.
Self Defense Bill of Rights Part I