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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Anti-gun Group Joins Chorus of Those Applauding Death of Castle Legislation

Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws sent this email today applauding yesterday's effective defeat of the last remaining Castle Doctrine bills.  Refering to the bills as "shoot first" legislation, the group called the bills dangerous and unnecessary.

Ironically, the group used language similar to language used by a gun rights group in opposing the bills, explaining that Virginia law on the issue of self defense has been carefully crafted by the courts. A Virginia gun rights group was actively opposing the Castle bills during the General Assembly.

But Andrew Goddard, president of the gun ban group and father of a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, went further saying if the bills had passed they would have caused an increase in unnecessary death and violence.

VSSA and the NRA supported the legislation and worked with patrons to address concerns raised by some that the bills would override protections already in common law.

In the end, the legislature, mired in a fight over the budget, decided they could not spend additional time addressing those concerns after taking steps to change the section of the code the bills addressed from the criminal to the civil code, and in the case of HB48, including specific language clarifying the bill:

"...shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law prior to the effective date of this law."

VSSA will continue to work with our friends in the legislature to insure maximum protections for Virginians that are forced to use a firearm in self defense.

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