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Senators discuss castle doctrine bill

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - 25 states across the country have some sort of castle doctrine law in place and Guam could be added to that list, but that all depends on elected leaders.

Senator Brant McCreadie said, "I think it's our fundamental responsibility to draft and pass a piece of legislation such as this one." Senator Ben Pangelinan said, "Why do we want to embolden people to use deadly force?"

Like half the country a castle doctrine law if enacted in the territory would protect residents from being prosecuted for protecting themselves from intruders who threaten their safety in their homes, cars or place of business. Senator Tony Ada is the bill's author and said, "What it does is the bill turns it around and protects the victim from being victimized again in a court."

It's the second time the legislation has been on session agenda. It was pulled in its first go around due to concerns from lawmakers about certain language in the initial measure. Senator Ada said, "To ensure that this was not a stand your ground law we had paragraphs that were completely deleted."

Co-sponsor of the bill Senator McCreadie said a castle doctrine law is needed in Guam. He said, "You know we as a Legislature are accountable for the safety of our community and to ensure that the core values of our families are still intact and preserved."

Senator Pangelinan however seemed unconvinced. He said, "I think one of the myths is that it only results in good that the enactment of castle doctrines only results in greater safety."

Pangelinan suggested Guam's self defense laws were sufficient. He said, "Why do we need something like this when our laws are even more expansive and more liberal with regards to a homeowner."

Senator McCreadie believes however that with Guam's rising crime rate, laws like castle doctrine are sorely needed, saying, "If you look at the past six months if we expand to the past year we've had three offenses that fall into this Bill 352 we've had a home invasion we've had someone try to take them out of their car and we had a business invasion."

The Castle Doctrine Bill was moved to the Voting File.

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