REPEAL THE CASTLE DOCTRINE
Just who, exactly, does Wisconsin’s new castle doctrine law benefit?
The law allows property owners to legally—and fatally—shoot intruders because the courts will presume that they had acted reasonably when they pulled the trigger. The law, which passed on a bipartisan vote last year, had been pushed by the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups. The pro-corporation American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has promoted castle doctrine laws around the country, modeled after Florida’s law, which is allowing Trayvon Martin’s killer to elude criminal charges.
Wisconsin’s new castle doctrine law certainly didn’t help Bo Morrison, an unarmed, young, mixed-race man who was fatally shot through the heart and lung on March 3 in Slinger while hiding in a porch after an underage drinking party was broken up by police.
The castle doctrine isn’t helping Adam Kind, Morrison’s killer, even though he won’t have to face criminal charges for shooting the unarmed trespasser. Kind could have handled the situation peacefully, but he chose to shoot Morrison at close range as the young man began raising his hands in the air. Kind will have to live with the guilt of killing an unarmed man for the rest of his life.
And the castle doctrine certainly isn’t helping law enforcement. Kind had called the police, and officers were less than 300 feet away from Kind’s porch, where he encountered Morrison. Police are trained to defuse tense situations without pulling the trigger. Since Morrison was unarmed, law enforcement could have arrested him without the use of deadly force. Unfortunately, Kind decided to take the law into his own hands and kill Morrison. The castle doctrine also takes power away from prosecutors, who won’t be able to charge shooters like Kind for killing a person.
Wisconsin legislators must repeal the castle doctrine immediately, before others are killed when they could simply have been arrested by police for minor criminal offenses. The price is too high to pay.