National group wants W.Va. to overturn ‘stand your ground’ law

June 24, 2012

By Travis Crum, Saturday Gazette Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The right to protect one’s home with reasonable, sometimes deadly, force has been a common law since before West Virginia’s formation.

When legislators made that right an official law in 2008, they expanded it to permit justifiable force away from home and to protect gun owners against civil liability. Similar codes passed by at least 26 states since 2005 have become known as “stand your ground” laws.

One national group wants West Virginia and other states to repeal the law because, they say, it creates racial bias and difficulties in prosecution. Supporters, however, say the law has worked many times.

State Senate President Jeff Kessler said last week that there is no plan to change or repeal West Virginia’s law, despite more talk about the subject.

“The existing law is appropriate and adequate and, quite frankly, I don’t see any reason to water it down or to look at it,” said Kessler, a Marshall County Democrat who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when the law was passed.

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