Rep. Sherry Appleton from the 23rd district in Washington State pre-filed House Bill 1012 on Dec. 5th of last year to make it a duty to retreat if possible instead of being able to clearly defend ones self.
The Stand Your Ground law states that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first. This law is most notably seen when one is defending their home or property. Washington does not have a law like other states when it comes to Stand Your Ground specifically and does not address whether a person must consider retreat, but most self defense cases result in the jury understanding defendants are not obligated to try to avoid using force by retreating.
Supporters of the bill believe people have too much leeway which will lead to unnecessary violence. Those against the bill state that defending one’s self is a birth right and laws prohibiting so only cause more damage to law abiding citizens. They also point to studies showing that guns are used in defense of crime three-to-four times more often than they’re used in the commission of a crime.
When word of the bill got out, hundreds of Washington residents flooded Appleton’s office with emails and phone calls, demanding the bill be removed. Appleton’s office, overwhelmed with the response, decided to back off from the bill, at least for now.
Many who oppose the bill and know Appleton noted that she means well and is sincere, but does not understand self defense.
Reports indicate that Appleton’s lawyers will reword the bill and then re-submit it next session, which has citizens and local Representatives keeping close watch.
“I think it’s to early to say the bill has been defeated. The 2013 session has not yet began and a lot can happen between now and the end of April. I do think the public outcry against the proposed legislation demonstrates that citizens are watching Olympia closely and are willing to take a stand,” said Rep. David Taylor of the 15th district.
Rep. Matt Shea of the 4th district noted, “This is a perfect example of grassroots activism at its finest. The right to bear arms in defense of one’s self is enshrined in Article 1, Section 24 of our State Constitution. We must be ever vigilant to protect our natural born rights as Americans.”
“The moral hazards, unintended consequences, and lack of respect for civil liberties and the constitution are at the very corrupt roots of this bill. Thanks to many liberty loving citizen activists who kept this bill on the ropes for its entire short life and put this abhorrent piece of garbage back to where it belongs, the dust bin of history,” said Travis Couture, a resident who helped bring awareness to the bill.
Representatives Jason Overstreet and Carry Condotta from the 42nd and 12th district were also noted as bringing light to the issue as well as many of Washington’s Open Carry activists.
If you would like to reach Rep. Sherry Appleton’s office with your comments or concerns regarding the bill: