New Hampshire lawmakers ready to stand their ground on deadly force

| Friday, August 26, 2011

A bill to expand New Hampshire’s deadly force law has been vetoed. However, the issue is not over yet.

New Hampshire law now limits the use of deadly force in defense of themselves or another person if they are in their home or on the surrounding land, and requires a person who is faced with deadly force outside the home to retreat if it can be done safely.

A Senate bill vetoed by Gov. John Lynch calls for permitting people to use deadly force in self-defense and in public to defend others anyplace they have a right to be.

Specifically, SB88 expands the definition of where a person is justified using deadly force in self-defense to include areas outside a person’s home. It also would prohibit an attacker, or attacker’s family, from suing a person who responds with deadly force.

About 30 states have some form of Castle Doctrine, or “Stand your Ground” law.

Lynch said he has concerns about expanding the privilege. In a veto statement, the Democratic governor said it will create the potential for more violence in public places and make it more difficult to prosecute criminals.

Supporters say the bill simply ensures that lawful gun owners can defend themselves.

“Having the right to carry a firearm, but then saying that you can’t use it to defend yourself when your life is in danger, is absurd,” House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mount Vernon, said in a statement.

Both chambers of the Republican-controlled Legislature approved the bill during the regular session by the two-thirds margin required for an override.

The Senate is expected to decide on Sept. 7 whether to override the governor’s veto. If the attempt is successful, the House could then consider an override.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire, click here.

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