Castle Doctrine Bill receives overwhelming support - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Castle Doctrine Bill receives overwhelming support

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Legislation that would bring Guam in line with a law that can be found in 45 states across the country received overwhelming support during a public hearing last night at the Guam Legislature.

Senator Tony Ada said, "This bill will give our people a fighting chance."

A public hearing was held Wednesday night on Bill 146 introduced by Senator Ada. The legislation would allow the use of defensive force when there is reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm upon an occupant of a home or vehicle by an intruder. "Not too long ago a prominent attorney told this committee criminals don't commit crime because they fear the law they commit the crimes because they believe that they can get away with it. We can punish the perpetrators of crimes with fines and incarcerations but nothing however can undo the scars of brutal assault the shame of rape or the life of a loved one that was murdered," he said.

According to Senator Ada the bill will put an end to treating those who defend themselves and their homes as criminals. One resident declared, "There's been a rash of home invasions on the island there's been a rash of people out in the public being attacked for whatever reason nobody really knows there are victims. We've had cases recently in our own local history victims being marginalized after the fact. This law is going to empower our constituency our citizenry to the point that they will no longer be in fear of the after effects. This law is going to protect us from being unduly arrested," he said.

Aside from technical amendments, the legislation received support from the attorney general's office. Chief prosecutor Basil O'Mallan. "We don't support vigilantism but we believe in an individuals' right to protect his home and protect his family. And so we support the bill for that reason," he explained.

The bill would provide certain protections, freedom from legal responsibility and prosecution for those who use defensive force when someone breaks into their home.

During the hearing local businessman Lee Webber recommended the inclusion of small business owners, saying, "We've had a rash of small businesses in particular who have been robbed people who have been pistol-whipped, people who've had gunshots fired in the roof of their business and I feel that have just as much right to defend themselves as homeowners do because they're on private property."

The Castle Doctrine Bill is a bi-partisan effort co-sponsored by Senators Brant McCreadie, Rory Respicio and Frank Aguon, Jr.

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