When I stumbled across the headline, â€śIndiana first state to allow citizens to shoot law enforcement officersâ€ť,Â I have to admit I was a bit intrigued.Â Did somebody watch one too many episodes of â€śParking Warsâ€ť?
Upon reading the article, however, I saw that what Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels did was sign a law allowing residents to use deadly force against public servants, including law enforcement officers, who unlawfully enter their homes.
This law was apparently a direct response to a United States Supreme Court ruling last year where a man assaulted a police officer who came into his house during a domestic disturbance call.Â The court ruled that there was â€śno right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.â€ť
Okay, stop.Â What?
I am a former police officer, and am friends with many current and former cops, so donâ€™t lump me in with the long-haired hippie, cop-hating crowd.Â But also donâ€™t tell me I donâ€™t have the right to resist unlawful entry into my house, by anyone.Â The fact that the person might be employed by a government agency to enforce laws becomes moot when they are participating in an unlawful act. Â Iâ€™m sorry, the badge is not a Get Out Of Jail Free card.
What surprises me (and maybe it shouldnâ€™t) is that this wasnâ€™t already legal.Â How can it be illegal to shoot someone who breaks into your house and is trying to commit a violent act against you?
The answer?Â Itâ€™s not.Â The Supreme Court has been wrong before, and will be wrong again.Â You want to know what gives American citizens the â€śright to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officersâ€ť?Â Itâ€™s called the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United Statesâ€”â€śThe right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violatedâ€¦.â€ťÂ Notice the framers of the Constitution didnâ€™t use the word â€śillegalâ€ť, they said â€śunreasonableâ€ť.Â You know why they didnâ€™t put anything in the Constitution about how you have a right to resist illegal entry?Â Because (check the definition of the word) ITâ€™S ILLEGAL!
Indiana state senator R. Michael Young feels the same way, stating, â€śThere are bad legislators,â€ť Young said. â€śThere are bad clergy, bad doctors, bad teachers, and itâ€™s these officers that weâ€™re concerned about that when they act outside their scope and duty that the individual ought to have a right to protect themselves.â€ť
The law requires those people using force to â€śreasonably believeâ€ť a law enforcement officer is acting illegally and that itâ€™s needed to prevent â€śserious bodily injury,â€ť Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in a statement.Â He also indicated, â€śIn the real world, there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met.Â This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers.â€ť
(Here’s another article on the subject, see how many examples of liberal editorial bias you can find in this so-called news piece.)
Personally, I think the situation youâ€™re much more likely to see is police officers raiding a house due to a simple address screw-up.Â This has happened too many times to count over the years, and occasionally innocent citizens get killed by police when they respond with a gun to what sounds like a break in.Â Jeff Cooper himself wondered what would happen the day cops, accidentally executing a no-knock warrant on the wrong address and doing a poor job of identifying themselves as the good guys, find themselvesÂ faced byÂ a Master-class shooter believing he is in the middle of a home invasion.Â This hasn’t happened yet, but it will.Â No-knock warrants are a necessity, but they are vastly overused.
There have also been numerous instances of bad guys dressing as cops when breaking into houses, confounding the problem.Â Confronted with a group of armed men charging into your house in the middle of the night, who either are not properly marked as law enforcement officers or havenâ€™t identified themselves as such, do you hope for the best and submit, or resist with force?