HomeNational“License to kill” bill submitted by a Republican to allow AZ residents...

“License to kill” bill submitted by a Republican to allow AZ residents lawfully shoot and kill migrants who cross their land

In Arizona, some members of the Republican Party are suggesting a new law that would permit ranchers in the southern part of the state to use weapon against undocumented immigrants crossing their property. This idea is being discussed in the state’s House of Representatives and aims to adjust the current “Castle Doctrine” law. This law already lets people in Arizona defend themselves with deadly force if someone is illegally entering or is in their home or property.

Arizona lawmakers are suggesting a new law that would permit ranchers in the southern part of the state to use weapon against undocumented immigrants crossing their property

Representative Justin Heap, from Mesa and a member of the Republican Party, explained to the House Judiciary Committee on February 14 that his proposed bill, House Bill 2843, aims to fix a problem he believes is causing more migrants or people trafficking humans to cross through private farming and ranching lands.

Recent incidents in the focus

This proposal is being considered while an Arizona rancher, 73-year-old George Alan Kelly, is facing a trial. He’s accused of second-degree murder and aggravated assault after shooting and killing 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea. Kelly allegedly fired at a group of unarmed migrants passing through his 170-acre ranch near Nogales. If this new law were in place, Kelly’s actions might have been legally justified because the bill suggests that deadly force is acceptable if an intruder is on someone’s property, not just inside their home. Currently, the law states the intruder must be both on the property and inside a dwelling or similar structure to justify such force.

One word makes huge difference

“Language like ‘and’ ‘or’ ‘either’…that one word can completely change the meaning of how this law is then applied,” Heap said. “If a farmer owns 10,000 acres of farmland, his home may be a half a mile away from where he is, and if he sees someone on his land, can he approach them and (remove) them from his property? This is an amendment to fix that.”

Read also: Expert says it’s Trump, not Biden, who is showing signs of mental decline: “Voters should be concerned”

If passed, the change of “and” to “or” in state law would give a much broader defense to people who use deadly force, as property would only have to satisfy some of the requirements instead of all of them, said criminal defense attorney Jack Litwak.

“The idea with the Castle Doctrine is that you are supposed to be able to defend house and home,” he said. “This seems to broaden it to say you can shoot someone that’s just on your actual property.”

The law would make it easier for people to defend themselves

If the law changes from “and” to “or,” it would make it easier for people to defend themselves with deadly force on their property, explains Jack Litwak, a criminal defense lawyer. This adjustment means that only one condition needs to be met, not all, for this defense to be valid.

Litwak points out that the Castle Doctrine is meant to protect people in their homes. However, this change would allow someone to use deadly force against others who are simply on their property, not necessarily inside their home.

He also thinks that this bill, proposed by Representative Heap, could make it legally acceptable to use deadly force in situations like the killing of Cuen-Buitimea.

Arizona is among roughly 30 states where people aren’t required to avoid confrontation before defending themselves. This is different from states like Florida and Louisiana, which are part of a smaller group that explicitly allows people to use force if they feel threatened.

Read also: California Republican harsh comments on Biden regarding the border crisis immediately backfire

A Florida incident started the trend

These types of laws became a major topic of national conversation in 2012 after George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, was found not guilty of murder. He claimed he was defending himself when he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was visiting his father.

Similar incidents in Missouri and New York

Last April, the issue gained attention again after Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old, was shot in the head and arm by an 84-year-old homeowner for simply ringing his doorbell. Many were concerned that Missouri’s “Stand Your Ground” law might protect the shooter. Shortly after, 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis was killed by a homeowner in New York for mistakenly entering his driveway with friends while searching for a party.

Such events are part of a disturbing trend. A study in 2022 by the JAMA Network found that “Stand Your Ground” laws could be linked to an 8-11% rise in homicides and firearm-related homicides each month. This led researchers to believe that these laws are causing an increase in violent and preventable deaths.

In a committee meeting, Representative Alex Kolodin from Scottsdale supported the bill, highlighting its benefits for the Second Amendment and reducing legal uncertainty for those accused of using too much force.

The bill passed in the committee with a vote of 5-3-1, with all Democrats voting against it.

On the House floor, Representative Analise Ortiz from Maryvale, a Democrat, strongly opposed the bill. She argued that expanding the Castle Doctrine law could lead to more unnecessary deaths from gun violence, criticizing it as a move towards sanctioning more killings outside of the law.

Read also: Former Ark. Gov. Hutchinson says ‘he is not going to support a convicted felon’: “Let’s wait and see…”

Despite opposition, the bill was passed in the state House on February 22 with a vote of 31-28, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats against. It is now going to the Senate for further debate.

Latest

President Biden will have tough time to win Michigan and Trump is not the problem

Last weekend, Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania, one...

The quality of education in California is declining and parents know who is the one to blame

The quality of education in California has gotten worse,...

Migrants at the Texas border look for a green-uniform agents so they can get into the country easily

The number of encounters with migrants at some sectors...

Newsletter

From the web

President Biden will have tough time to win Michigan and Trump is not the problem

Last weekend, Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania, one...

The quality of education in California is declining and parents know who is the one to blame

The quality of education in California has gotten worse,...

Migrants at the Texas border look for a green-uniform agents so they can get into the country easily

The number of encounters with migrants at some sectors...

City of Florence to host Earth Day Cleanup event on Monday, April 22

Florence, South Carolina - The City of Florence Resilience...

Former California House Speaker’s ally ‘launches public attack’ against GOP members who ousted McCarthy

Florida House Rep. Matt Gaetz was the one who initiated the ousting of former California House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last year, something that still...

President Biden will have tough time to win Michigan and Trump is not the problem

Last weekend, Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania, one of the key battleground states that are expected to make a difference in the November...

The quality of education in California is declining and parents know who is the one to blame

The quality of education in California has gotten worse, a nationwide trend that has been seen in almost every state in recent years, including...