When I stumbled across the headline, “Indiana first state to allow citizens to shoot law enforcement officers”, I have to admit I was a bit intrigued. Did somebody watch one too many episodes of “Parking Wars”?
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. The court ruled that there was “no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.”
Okay, stop. What?
I am a former police officer, and am friends with many current and former cops, so don’t lump me in with the long-haired hippie, cop-hating crowd. But also don’t tell me I don’t have the right to resist unlawful entry into my house, by anyone. 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. I’m sorry, the badge is not a Get Out Of Jail Free card.
What surprises me (and maybe it shouldn’t) is that this wasn’t already legal. 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? It’s not. The Supreme Court has been wrong before, and will be wrong again. You want to know what gives American citizens the “right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers”? It’s called the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States—“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….” Notice the framers of the Constitution didn’t use the word “illegal”, they said “unreasonable”. You know why they didn’t put anything in the Constitution about how you have a right to resist illegal entry? Because (check the definition of the word) IT’S ILLEGAL!
Indiana state senator R. Michael Young feels the same way, stating, “There are bad legislators,” Young said. “There are bad clergy, bad doctors, bad teachers, and it’s these officers that we’re concerned about that when they act outside their scope and duty that the individual ought to have a right to protect themselves.”
The law requires those people using force to “reasonably believe” a law enforcement officer is acting illegally and that it’s needed to prevent “serious bodily injury,” Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in a statement. He also indicated, “In the real world, there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met. This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers.”
(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 you’re much more likely to see is police officers raiding a house due to a simple address screw-up. 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. 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 themselves faced by a Master-class shooter believing he is in the middle of a home invasion. This hasn’t happened yet, but it will. 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. 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 haven’t identified themselves as such, do you hope for the best and submit, or resist with force?