New push for 'Stand Your Ground' law - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

New push for 'Stand Your Ground' law

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A push for an expansion of the state's current "castle doctrine" is now under way in Massachusetts. Sen. Stephen Brewer is advocating for a bill filed last year that would allow citizens not only to use deadly force to protect themselves should an attacker enter their home, but also anywhere in public they have the right to be.

Brewer is not alone. Dozens of representatives from across the state, several in Western Massachusetts, Democrat and Republican alike, support the bill as well.

"It takes away any question that anybody has in their mind that they have that right wherever they may as long as they're there legally and lawfully that they have the ability to defend themselves," said Rep. Don Humason.

He is just one local politician in support of a more expansive castle doctrine and says it will protect those residents who find themselves in a difficult situation facing life or death.

"You should be able to defend yourself and your family anywhere that you have a legal right to be, and that's only going to make our citizens safer," said Humason.

Sections of the bill go a step further, protecting those who have used lethal force from both losing their license to carry and from prosecution for death or injuries to an assailant.

But now, with the nation's eyes upon the story of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Florida who was allegedly gunned down by a neighborhood watchman as he walked home, some politicians and citizens feel that the stand your ground law may make gun carriers too comfortable.

Humason says that scenario and what the bill is trying to accomplish are too different to compare.

"The individual who has been charged allegedly wasn't standing his ground, but was chasing the person and shooting, so it doesn't even qualify there," said Humason.

According to the National Rifle Association, more than 30 states have some type of castle doctrine, and 24 of them have the more expansive "Stand Your Ground" law.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on this bill on April 27.

See the full bill here.

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