Castle doctrine “popular” defense in South Carolina.

A man is strangled to death in a Colleton County…

A man is strangled to death in a Colleton County home. Another is gunned down outside a West Columbia house. A third is grazed by a bullet as five rounds rip through his car on James Island.

All three events occurred this month, and in each case authorities know exactly who inflicted those injuries. But so far, no one has been charged with a crime.

That’s because each incident involves a citizen trying to protect his home or property, and the state tends to give great leeway to folks who use deadly force in such situations.

South Carolina is one of more than 20 states to adopt strong “castle doctrine” laws to protect citizens from criminal prosecution and civil liability if they use deadly force to repel an intruder.

In 2006, state lawmakers codified the doctrine, greatly expanding its scope to apply in places other than someone’s home. The law now covers store owners defending their businesses, drivers fending off a carjacking and campers confronting unwelcome intruders in the woods.

Advocates argued that the change was necessary because of escalating violent crime and the need to protect innocent victims from facing murder prosecutions. Former state Attorney General Charlie Condon, for one, contended that the law has a been a boon for law-abiding citizens and a great deterrent to criminals.

“I would err on the side of homeowners at all times, and that’s what authorities should do,” said Condon, who drew national attention in 2001 by declaring an “open season” on home invaders. “I think the message should be clear: If you are going into someone’s home to hurt somebody, don’t expect the law to protect you.”

Opponents counter that wide-ranging castle-doctrine laws like South Carolina’s encourage vigilantism and create a dangerous culture of shoot-first and ask questions later, even in the face of minimal threat.

This places not only criminals in jeopardy, they argue, but innocent bystanders as well.

“Where we have a problem is when you take it outside the home and put it in a public arena,” said Brian Malte, director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“It’s very problematic, not only because it is giving a license to shoot someone in public, but you are also giving them legal and civil immunity for any sort of shooting that arises as long as they feel threatened,” he said.

Source: Glenn Smith for Post and Courrier.

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  • Castle Doctrine works

    I find myself on the other side of the fence. I was defrauded of my lifelong retirement savings by a SC family. When I reached out to that family for fair resolution, or I’d prosecute, I was met with extortion attempts, documented threats, and up close n personal severe bodily harm threats by them. For the next 2 years, they enslaved me, trampled my property, stromed my castle and harassed and intimidated me on my doorstep. When I presented a weapon on my front porch to repel the last storming by their son, ex deputy, it worked to stop him. He lobbied the SC good ole boy network when I refused a 50k extortion attempt from him. 8 days later I was in jail. This law is necessary in this state.
    Signed, Soon to be a RICH RICH man…

  • 4swain4

    Unbelievable law which gives a license to kill and then cry Castle Doctrine. I am having a hard time understanding why any state would allow the use of such a lose excuse to kill. Amazing. I never would have believed that South Carolina would be so inclined to legalize murder. Shame on you, South Carolina. The icing on the then eliminate civil reprisal. I think victims should sue the state for this sick and twisted law.

  • SC843

    It is about time some laws were put into place to protect citizens and not protect the criminals because their rights might be violated. They gave up their rights when they chose to break the law. And thats right STAND YOUR GROUND, REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM!

  • Jeff

    Its about the innocent feeling safe, true safety not the type that requires a 5 minute wait before help arrives.

  • Castle Doctrine is a righteous, necessary and appropriate. Each citizen in this Republic has the absolute right to self defense,the right to protect their life, liberty and private property. Nothing less is satisfactory. Hundreds of thousands of lives are saved each year by armed citizens exercising the right of self defense. Criminals and tyrants deserve “No Quarter”. Stand your ground and Refuse to be a Victim!