'Shoot First' law next on extremist agenda for Wild West Wisconsin | WisCommunity

'Shoot First' law next on extremist agenda for Wild West Wisconsin

Concealed carry. Check.

Let's see, what's next on the extremist agenda?

Ah, yes, the Castle Doctrine, or what some prefer to call the Shoot First bill. And ask questions later, if there is anyone alive to ask.

The Wisconsin "castle doctrine" bill is scheduled to get a vote this week in an Assembly committee, including some amendments to broaden its scope.


Rep. Dean Kaufert, the author of the bill, has proposed a number of amendments to the original legislation that was rolled out in late March. Some of the changes include language specifying that a person has a right to stand his or her ground, while others would expand the self-defense standards to buildings on a person's property, along with a person's business and car.

The Neenah Republican said the expansion to other areas of property is the main departure from a Dem-authored bill that passed the Assembly last session. He said he expects the measure to receive bipartisan support in the chamber this session as well.

"The premise behind the bill has not changed," Kaufert said.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the measure Thursday morning. Here's the of the bill.

It's not entirely clear, because the language isn't there yet, what the other "buildings on a person's property" would be included. The garage? Chicken coop? Outhouse?

The premise of the bill, which Kaufert says hasn't changed, is that is OK to shoot to kill someone who forces his/her way into your home, business, auto (or maybe chicken coop), even if that person is not threatening you with bodily harm, let alone threatening your life.

That doesn't sound like it could be right, but here's how the Legislative Reference Bureau describes the existing law:

In general [under current law], a person who uses force in self?defense or in the defense of another person may not be convicted of a crime stemming from that use of force. This law applies only when: 1) the amount of force used is reasonable; and 2) the person uses that force to prevent or stop what he or she reasonably believes is an unlawful interference with himself or herself or another person, such as the crime of battery. Current law specifies that a person may use force that is intended or likely to cause the death of or great bodily harm to another individual only if the person reasonably believes that using such force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another person. [Emphasis mine.]

Kaufert's bill would get rid of the "reasonable force" test if someone breaks into your property. Here's how it is described:

Under this substitute amendment, if a person used defensive force that was intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm, a court in a criminal case against the person must presume that the person reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another person if: 1) the individual against whom the force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering, or had already unlawfully and forcefully entered, the dwelling, motor vehicle, or, in the case of a business owner or operator, place of business of the person who used the force; 2) the person was present in that dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business; and 3) the person knew or reasonably believed that an unlawful and forcible entry was occurring or had occurred.

This law is likely to pass and become law in Wisconsin. Then they can start on the modifications, as they did this spring in Pennsylvania.

The state House and Senate have each approved a measure that would expand Pennsylvania’s “castle doctrine,” allowing citizens to use lethal force in self-defense in any public place if they feel their life is in danger.

Can Wisconsin, with a pro-gun majority in the legislature, disregarding the wishes of the people as expressed repeatedly in polling, be far behind?

[This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation
occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.]


September 28, 2011 - 2:35pm