Two bills that stress firearm defense in the home are rifling through Virginia’s legal system following votes last week.
On Feb. 2, Senate Bill 4 (Castle Doctrine; self-defense and defense of others) was read for the third time on the State Senate floor and passed by a 23-17 vote.
Meanwhile, an amended version of House Bill 48 was firing through through the House of Delegates. The bill, sponsored by Staunton Del. Robert “Dickie” Bell (R-58th), was originally an exact replica of Senate Bill 4, but has since been amended in subcommittee.
Bell introduced the bell to codify what is already common law in Virginia. Under the current law, Virginia has two distinct defense laws. The first, often referred to as the “stand your ground” law, cites that if you’re not an uninvolved bystander, you have the ability to defend yourself when attacked. If the attacker is killed under these circumstances, a court can find it to be a justifiable homicide. The second circumstance is if you’re involved in some way, but then attempt to remove yourself from the situation and retreat – yet continue to be pursued. When you can no longer distance yourself from the situation, you have the right to defend yourself. This scenario could fall under an excusable homicide if an attacker is killed.
Source: Matt Vecchio for Loudoun Times.