Republicans in Indiana are taking self-defense too far. In a move supported by the National Rifle Association, the Indiana House passed Senate Bill 1, which allows homeowners to shoot and kill police officers they believe are unlawfully on their property or in their homes. The bill could also extend to federal law enforcement officials.
According to the Evansville Courier Press, the bill is a response to a decision made by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2011. “The court ruled that homeowners do not have the right to use force against law enforcement officials who they believe are illegally entering their homes. That decision came in the case of Richard Barnes, who filed a lawsuit against police who followed him into his house while they were responding to a domestic dispute Barnes had with his wife.”
The key word there, is ‘believe.’ People have different beliefs when it comes to the police. Most people respect the boys in blue and understand that they are just trying to do a dangerous job that doesn’t exactly pay well. Some, on the other hand, have no respect at all for police and believe them to be the enemy at all time, whether they have a warrant or not. But it’s a particularly risky situation that Republicans are putting police officers in, because in some situations police officers enter homes when they have sufficient reason to believe that a crime is taking place. For example, if a police officer is walking by a home and a woman screams because her husband is beating her mercilessly, there isn’t time to wait for a court approved warrant to enter the home. Under Senate Bill 1, which passed by a 74-24 vote, the husband could shoot and kill the officer for entering his home and get away with it. And there are many other situations where police may deem it necessary to enter a home, such as the situation in which the Indiana Court ruled.
Rep. Craig Fry, a Democrat, says the bill “is going to cause people to die and it’s too late after somebody dies for a jury to sort it out. Somebody’s going to die, whether it’s a police officer or an individual who thinks a police officer is entering their home unlawfully. People are going to die.”
Fry’s colleague, Democratic Rep. Linda Lawson, a former police captain, says the bill would create an “open season on law enforcement,” and is opposed by “1,250 state police officers and 14,000 men and women in blue, brown and green.”
Republicans claim the bill actually protects police officers, but what it really does is give paranoid gun toting anti-government nut jobs the legal ability to shoot any officer that steps in their home or on their property. It allows those who commit a crime to have a safe haven from police officers who pursue them. All a criminal needs to do is run home to legally resist arrest. Like many laws, people will more than likely misinterpret it to mean they can kill any police officer in their home as long as they think they are there illegally. And many people aren’t going to see a difference between an officer with a warrant and an officer without one. Many people believe that police have no right to exercise authority in their homes whatsoever, even if a crime may have been or is being committed, even if there is a warrant. This bill takes home defense to an entirely new level. We aren’t talking about thieves or murderers, or rapists entering homes. This bill is about police, who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep people safe. Nobody has the right to shoot and kill a police officer for doing their job. Instead of letting judges and juries sort things out, Republicans in Indiana believe more gun play is the answer to keep police in check, and such beliefs are going to result in more dead civilians and dead police.