Bill description: HB 444 would update Idaho’s self-defense laws. The bill addresses both the Castle Doctrine policy, which provides for self-defense on one's property and Stand Your Ground policy, which provides for self-defense in public.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in US Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
HB 444 would further strengthen two rights that are protected under the United States Constitution. The first is the right to private property. This right would be protected by ensuring that while on their own property, individuals would not be held culpable for actions they take which harm intruders (Page 2, Lines 5-17, 47-48, Page 3, Lines 1-2). HB 444 states, if “the person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering or had unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle or place of business or employment, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another person against that person's will from the dwelling, residence, occupied vehicle or place of business or employment” then the individual who used force would not be held guilty of any harm to the intruder or attacker.
Ensuring that individuals can protect their own property would guarantee their right to self-determination on private property.
The second right protected is the right to bear arms granted under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. HB 444 guarantees this right by stating that any individual abiding by the law “has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, to prevent the commission of a violent felony or when attempting to apprehend a person for any felony committed, or to suppress a riot” (Page 2, Lines 42-46).
Guaranteeing the right to use force in self-defense when necessary, including the use of firearms, would solidify the full right guaranteed in the Second Amendment.
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