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Georgia's Controversial Self Defense Bill

By: Bill Pearson
By: Bill Pearson

Georgians could have more protection to use deadly force under state law if the General Assembly passes its version of Florida's Castle Doctrine, a controversial law which protects those who use deadly force to defend themselves.

South Georgians are divided on the issue.

Evan Gibbs says, "I think it’s a good thing. I think they should emphasize that the force must be necessary to justify your actions of what you've done."

Kody Wynne says, "Truthfully, I don't think it’s a good idea. I mean, who's to say what's really threatening in nature? I don't know. It’s just a bad idea all together, that's all I can say."

While opinions are divided, some local law enforcement officials say there's no need for the measure because it is legal under Georgia law to use deadly force while defending yourself, your family or property.

Brian Childress, Valdosta police spokesperson, says, "Based off all the cases I've looked at, it’s always been there, and from a civilian standpoint, when deadly force is used to defend themselves, one of the first things that happens is law enforcement takes into consideration: are we going to charge this person or was there a legitimate fear there?"

But supporters say the bill is needed because it would protect people who've used deadly force from being slammed with lawsuits after the deadly force was taken.

Last year Florida became the first state to pass a “Castle Doctrine Law.” Now Georgia and 13 other states are considering similar measures.


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