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Bill allows islanders to defend themselves at home, in a yard, or in a car

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With the concern over the rise in violent crimes, senators have introduced a "stand your ground" provision that would amend current law to allow people to defend themselves anywhere they have a right to be, without the fear of prosecution.

While he's never been the victim of a home invasion, Harmon resident Tyrone Phillips says it's a constant worry, saying, "I've had people just roaming around my house like late at night, and there are times where I had to chase them off. But that's kind of scary, because I have my family in my house with me."

The safety of his wife and two children is his number one concern, as he said, "I carry something in my car, something in my house, and I just hope that I'll never use it. But the thought when you're not at home, you're just thinking in the back of your mind anything can happen."

Phillips says he supports a new "stand your ground" law that was introduced by Senator Joe San Agustin that would expand existing Castle Doctrine law to allow people to use defensive force when threatened, without first having to retreat. Also, the new law wouldn't only be applicable to your home, but also incidents that may happen in your yard, or even in your car.

San Agustin said the law was introduced in response to concerns people raised over the need to protect themselves even outside of their homes, telling KUAM News, "When they happen to be walking in the park, they're being attacked by drunks."

Former Senator Tony Ada, said the stand your ground provision was part of the original law, but was taken out due to concerns from other lawmakers. "They were thinking people would be vigilantes and take matters into their old hands, but when you look at castle doctrine three years later, you know even though people have had the opportunity to protect themselves within their home and use whatever force necessary in that manner, people have opted to call the police," Ada said.

Ada said he's excited the law has been reintroduced, and is hopeful it will finally pass.

Meanwhile, resident Kelly Rabago shared, "I will support it because of everything that has been happening around our island, I believe we should defend ourselves." But Jack Thamvongasa has a differing opinion, saying, "I mean, obviously there's good and bad things about it because with the bad, people could always take advantage of it. It's bad to see anyone get hurt, but whenever your family or your friends are in danger I'm sure anyone could almost agree that they would want to protect their family."

Philips said, "If it's going to happen in my place or I my house then I've got to do something to defend myself and my family."

The measure has been implemented in 28 other states and will be scheduled for a public hearing.

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