In the Valley, protecting yourself out of self-defense is usually covered under what is called “common law.” Common law is based on outcomes from court cases in the past, and judges have the say in what falls under that category.
A Valley delegate has tried to pass a bill that would protect people acting out of self-defense.
That bill called “Castle Doctrine” could help people in the Valley stay safe.
Ashby Arms Store Owner Dennis Golden sells guns, and he said the right gun legislation could help keep people in Virginia safe.
“It would be very helpful in Virginia to get a stand your ground law on the books, or something to that effect, making it so you wouldn't have to retreat, making it so if you're in your front yard and not in your home, you do have a course of self-defense, that is covered by the law,” said Golden.
That describes the proposed law.
Delegate Dickie Bell, who represents the Valley in the General Assembly, sponsored Castle Doctrine this spring.
The bill would protect people from being charged with civil litigation if they used deadly force against intruders.
“It just seems to me that we need a piece of legislation that standardizes everything, that makes it consistent, so that folks will know what their rights are that protect themselves in their own home,” said Delegate Bell.
Bell pulled the bill because he said it needs to be bulletproof and get support from both parties.
Right now, Delegate Bell said the bill divides representatives along party lines, and he wants that to change.
Golden said he agreed with the move and would support the bill once it's rewritten.
“I strongly support the Castle Doctrine in Virginia, if it is well written, if it does not weaken current law. The current form of Castle Doctrine is something that is very helpful to all Virginia residents,” said Golden.
The Staunton Police Department said if a similar situation happened in the Valley, they would launch an investigation as they would with any case.
Delegate Bell told WHSV he plans to support the bill during next year's session.
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