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Should lethal force be used in self-defense during a riot? This state lawmaker says yes

In the event of a dangerous riot, a Louisiana lawmaker hopes to make it very clear what you can and cannot do to defend your property.
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In the event of a dangerous riot, a Louisiana lawmaker hopes to make it very clear what you can and cannot do to defend your property. That includes using lethal force in some cases.

In other parts of the country, we’ve seen where some protests in recent years turned violent. This bill would justify homicide to protect homes and businesses from being destroyed in that scenario.

After the case of Kyle Rittenhouse case, who was acquitted on charges, he killed two people during a Wisconsin riot, other states were forced to review their laws in such a scenario.

Republican State Rep. Danny McCormick’s bill aims to give you the right to use lethal force to defend your or someone else’s property in the event of a riot as defined by Louisiana law.

“You know, my opinion is if we have this law in place, outside groups that may want to come into Louisiana and create riots and disruptions, with this law in place, I think they’ll go to another state,” said Rep. McCormick (R).

Louisiana operates under two doctrines. The Castle Doctrine gives you the right to defend your home against an unwanted intruder. Under the Aggressor Doctrine, the person who starts a confrontation cannot claim self-defense. But when it comes to a riot, there’s a grey area.

“You know riots are different. When there’s a lot of chaos going on, there’s a large-scale riot going on and you go in to defend your city or to protect other people, we don’t have that in Louisiana. And now if this law passes, we will,” said local defense attorney Franz Borghardt.

“Yea like, for instance, you’re in a riot and you’re standing outside your house, and somebody is throwing firebombs in the window, there’s nothing you can do right now. People don’t have that right and this gives them that right,” Rep. McCormick added.

But it may not be so cut-and-dry. A big question would be if this would apply to the owner of a property or anyone looking to keep the peace.

“It looks like it would apply to both. It looks like it will apply to someone who’s the owner trying to keep the peace and then just someone who’s trying to keep the peace,” said Borghardt.

Attorney Borghardt believes it’s good for Louisiana to solidify its stance on this issue in writing, but says even if this were to become law, he recommends caution.

“I hate the idea of people thinking, well if I see a business being destroyed, I can just go over start shooting at the people destroying it. I would urge citizens not to do that. I would urge citizens, even if they changed that law, I would say you would be in a much better position if you’re only defending a person or yourself,” Borghardt explained.

I’m told this bill will likely come up when a bunch of other second amendment bills are on the schedule for the same day. No answer on when that will be just yet.

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