Shoot First

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Self-defense is a constitutional right, and supporters of the "shoot first" bill say anyone trying to defend themselves shouldn't need to flee before using deadly force.

But some residents fear that right will be abused.

Tommy McMillan, a Georgia resident, says, "If the government's going to allow people to carry guns to use to protect themselves there should be very stringent rules."

Supporters say the bill would cover people who may be in danger of physical attack as long as they are in a legal place using a legal weapon.

Ray Herndon, a Georgia resident, adds, "I would think you should have the right to defend yourself as long as it doesn't get out of hand and people are just shooting in the streets."

Police agree with the right to self-defense, but say there are definite pros and cons if this bill becomes a law.

SGT Rachelle Denmark of the Thomasville Police Department says, "More people may be carrying guns. That could be an issue. There's some things we have to look at. As long as people do not abuse their rights given by this bill and it's used correctly then I think it's a win-win situation."

Supporters say the bill has restrictions. It would not protect people using illegal weapons. Opponents say they fear the law could justify violence not related to self-defense.

The “shoot first" bill passed in the Senate 40 to 13. The bill now heads to the House.