New TN Bill Introduces Deadly Force for Property Crimes
A new bill was introduced that would allow property owners to shoot and kill those committing certain crimes on their property.
A new, controversial bill was filed in the Tennessee legislature to try to change the way that those in our state can legally use deadly force. While under the current law, using deadly force against someone would be a felony if not being used in self-defense or defense of others, the new bill that has been filed attempts to change that and to expand the use of deadly force. The bill, House Bill 11(HB 11), has been filed for introduction in the house. Here is what you should know about the new bill.
The Current Law on the Use of Deadly Force
The current law regarding the use of deadly force in Tennessee, which usually refers to shooting someone with a gun in a way that is fatal, is clear: Deadly force can only be used in self-defense or defense of another, or when a person reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect oneself against the other person’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. If someone uses deadly force when they do not reasonably believe that there is an imminent fear of harm to themselves or to another, then they are acting illegally. The use of deadly force when not in self-defense is a felony in our state.
The Proposed Bill and the Use of Deadly Force
The new bill, if it were to become the law in Tennessee, would change the current circumstances under which a person can use deadly force. Should the bill pass, a person would be able to use deadly force against another not only in circumstances of self-defense, but also when the person reasonably believes that deadly force is immediately necessary to:
- Prevent burglary, robbery, theft, arson, or aggravated robbery; or
- Prevent the person committing the crime from fleeing immediately after committing the crime; or
- Recover the real or tangible property because the property could not be reasonably recovered otherwise.
This means that, if the new bill becomes law, a property owner could shoot someone on their property who is committing theft or robbery. Some have argued that if the bill becomes law, it could permit a person to shoot an intruder in the back when the person was leaving the property.
The proposed law is a response to business owners’ concerns about destructive protests and looting that occurred in the state last year. Legal analyst Nick Leonardo has criticized the bill as being too vague and has referred to it as “vigilante legislation.”
Should the bill pass, it would go into effect in July of 2021. Bear in mind, it is a complicated process for a new bill to become law. Many bills that introduced in the legislature do not become law, or the bill may be amended in a multitude of ways before becoming law. If this bill passes, it will likely get some more attention in the media.
Call a Franklin TN Criminal Defense Lawyer to get assistance
The use of unlawful force is a complicated legal topic, and one that is sure to become even more complex should HB 11 pass. I am Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law. If you have been charged with a crime and need legal representation, please call me to discuss your charges and your defenses, as well as the penalties you face. You can learn more about your legal options and defenses and how an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tennessee can help, so please call our law office directly today. I can start working on your case and work to diligently represent you. Reach out now to get started.