As a National Rifle Association member, I get e-mails from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, which to be perfectly honest I tend to glance over and then delete. This one caught me, though. Why, I can’t tell you, but it did and in fact I did a little digging that made this alert more alarming that I’d originally thought. It’s one thing to pass a law that removes reimbursement of legal costs for those found not guilty by reason of self-defense. A questionable idea, but perhaps not onerous given the tight fiscal times and since you’re guaranteed at least a public defender by federal law, not THAT big a deal. But to sneak in a provision that there’s not even a right to self-defense? Oh, no, brother. THAT noise is wrong! Or to put it as I did to my state representatives:
I’ve recently been informed of a small but extremely disturbing bill that will soon be put before a committee you sit on, the House Ways & Means Committee. HB 2067 is a short bill, but manages to accomplish a very large change in how citizens of this state may or may not be prosecuted. The entirety of the bill is no more than three sentences, but in that brief span it proposes to not merely eliminate the reimbursement of defense costs to defendants found not guilty by reason of self-defense, but to also remove a law (RCW 9A.16.110) that actually prevents prosecution of citizens if they take action to protect either themselves or others.
This is a classic legislative bait-and-switch. No doubt this bill will be advocated as a small yet fiscally responsible change in these trying economic times. Please do not be fooled by this. The elimination of RCW 9A.16.110 will, at best, have a chilling effect on citizens who might otherwise be both capable and motivated to defend themselves or others from violent attacks. This law is directly comparable to “good Samaritan” laws that hold those who try to medically aid others not liable for any injury caused by such aid. No matter how numerous, well-trained or vigilant the officers of this state’s various police agencies are, they can’t be everywhere a violent crime is committed. We need direct and active citizen involvement in maintaining our public safety, and anything that dissuades one citizen from either defending him- or herself or someone else renders the streets of our communities that much less safe.
I strenuously oppose even the passage of HB 2067 out of the House Ways & Means Committee, let alone passage by the full House. I hope that as my representative you will join me in this position and vote this bill down. Thank you for your help on this issue.
If you are a Washington State resident, do hit the NRA-ILA alert, look up your representative (especially if they sit on the House Ways & Means Committee, as both of mine do) and either call or e-mail them pronto. If you’re fortunate or sensible enough to NOT live in this cockamamie state, do keep a close eye on what your state might be doing to your self-defense/gun rights and sign up for the NRA-ILA alerts. Though I don’t currently own any firearms, I’m an NRA member because I want to preserve ALL my civil rights, not just the politically correct ones. I hope you do as well.