Under longstanding precedents in American — and before that, English — law, a person’s home is their castle. It may be protected against intruders by force. If a person may not use force to protect their home, in a very real sense, they no longer own it. Question: does that still apply when the government comes a-knocking? In a recent case in Florida, police went to the wrong house on a domestic call at 1:00 am. From wftv.com . . .
The man, who asked to not be identified, said he awoke to someone banging on the front door of his Belhaven Falls Drive home shortly before 1 a.m. When he asked who it was, he got no response.
Fearing a burglar was at the door, the homeowner grabbed a gun.
When he returned, he said he saw a bright light shining through the glass of his front door and he heard someone outside holler “gun.”
That’s when bullets started flying.
The homeowner says he never fired a shot. The police unleashed a fusillade that did extensive damage to the house, with bullet holes in the door, walls, furniture and appliances.
There is no excuse for police to shoot at a homeowner simply because they’re armed when answering the door. [ED: Indiana passed a law protecting citizens’ right to use “reasonable force” against unlawful police intrusion onto private property.] It’s happened before. In 2011, Jose Guerra was shot and killed when police saw that he was armed as they were breaking into his home in Tucson, Arizona. Guerra never fired at police, either.
It’s prudent and reasonable to have a gun on your hip or in your hand when answering the door to unexpected and unknown visitors, especially at night. And the police are supposed to identify themselves when they approach a domicile (unless it’s a “no-knock” raid).
Even so, given this incident, it’s equally prudent to keep your gun partially or complete hidden when answering the door, perhaps holding it discreetly by your side.
Your home is your castle. Defend it wisely.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.