In an era where many politicians give lip service to gun rights while seeking election and then do their best to undermine those rights once in office, it’s refreshing to see Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and that state’s GOP-led legislature passing laws that restore rights which courts have stripped away from Indiana citizens in recent years.
Case in point — in a bid to restore the fullness of the right to use guns to protect life and property, the legislature passed, and on March 20th Gov. Daniels signed, Senate Enrolled Act 1 (SEA 1) into law. That law clarifies, and thereby strengthens, the right of law-abiding citizens to defend their homes from intrusion, even in the event that the intruder is a law enforcement officer entering the home illegally.
True to form, critics and anti-gunners have pounced on the Indiana legislature for passing this bill and on Gov. Daniels for signing it. However, it must be noted that such critics did the same thing decades ago when concealed carry laws began to be passed in various states, and then did the same thing again when Castle Doctrine laws followed. In every instance, we were incorrectly told there would be a blood bath in the streets and that these laws meant a return to the “Wild West.”
The critics of SEA 1 are rehashing these same, tired arguments in their criticisms today.
For example, once the bill had passed the Indiana House, but had yet to be signed by Gov. Daniels, a writer on The Daily Kos put forth a logically vapid argument against the bill in a post titled “Now Nearly Legal to Murder Police in Indiana.”
The author could have saved herself the trouble of writing that post if she had simply waited until Gov. Daniels studied SEA 1 and explained why he signed it — because the governor made it clear that the legislation not only protected the rights of Hoosiers to defend their lives and property against illegal invasions (by anyone), but also gave added protections to police officers going to a home in the line of duty. As Gov. Daniels explained:
Contrary to some impressions, the bill strengthens the protection of Indiana law enforcement officers by narrowing the situations in which someone would be justified in using force against them. Senate Enrolled Act 1 puts into place a two-part test before a person can use deadly force against a law enforcement officer: First, it clarifies and restates the current requirement that a person reasonably believe the law enforcement officer is acting unlawfully. Second, it adds that the force must be reasonably necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the citizen.
Sadly, even an officer from the Los Angeles Police Department failed to read Gov. Daniel’s explanation, and therefore also wrote a critical article in which he claimed that now, because of SEA 1, officers that mistakenly enter the wrong home “might find themselves in a gunfight with the occupants.”
Seriously? It’s embarrassing to me as a free man that I can’t be given a bit more credit for my ability to determine who’s a friend and who’s a foe when there’s a knock at my door, a car in my drive, or a stranger suddenly standing in my entrance hall. No free man wants to take a life in cold blood in any circumstance, and would never take it with or without the qualifiers in Indiana’s SEA 1.
On the other hand, criminals don’t read the law. And all the added protections for policemen and property owners contained in this bill won’t stop one criminal with mal intent from doing what he or she planned to do anyway.
Free men are capable of discerning when to shoot and when not to. And the beauty of SEA 1 is that it confirms the faith both Gov. Daniels and the GOP-led legislature have in free men to do just that.
AWR Hawkins is a conservative columnist who has written extensively on political issues for HumanEvents.com, Pajamas Media, Townhall.com, and Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com, BigHollywood.com, BigGovernment.com, and BigJournalism.com. He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. military history from Texas Tech University, and was a visiting fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in the summer of 2010. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.