By Andy Allen

First published in the Omaha World Herald

Recently, the Judiciary Committee of the Nebraska Legislature held a hearing about problems with Nebraska’s self defense laws. We are proposing legislation that allows law-abiding citizens to defend themselves while in their homes. Unfortunately, many people nationwide have faced criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits after defending their lives, and this is a travesty of justice. This proposal will finally give Nebraskan’s the undeniable legal right to protect themselves in their own homes. Castle Doctrine creates the presumption that an attacker or intruder intends to inflict bodily harm, and deadly force may be used to protect oneself, family and others while in the home. In Nebraska a person who defends their life with deadly force needs to admit they committed a homicide, and then prove they were justified in committing the act. Notice we are not "innocent until proven guilty," but rather guilty until proven innocent, at your own expense. We are not discussing creating particularly complicated law, simply spelling out in current law that people have the right to defend themselves. In the Omaha World Herald: “Omaha Sen. Brenda Council said that (Sen. Mark) Christensen’s proposal would grant immunity for a gang member who shoots a rival gang member they ran into on a street because the shooter could legitimately say they perceived a threat. “Without a duty to retreat, all you’re doing is calling an open season on gang shootings,” Council said.” That has a simple answer; Castle Doctrine is not absolute. Castle Doctrine is a rebuttable presumption, which means it is a presumption of innocence that can be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence. If Nebraska's prosecutors find it too difficult to overcome a claim of self-defense with a preponderance of evidence in a case involving a couple of gang members, it's time to get new prosecutors. Some might argue that gang members killing gang members is a good thing. Maybe in some cosmic sense, it is, but it's still illegal. We are a nation of laws, laws gun owners want consistently enforced. It is not legal to go murder perceived gang members, drug dealers and criminals. Criminals who kill criminals are rightfully prosecuted for murder. We do know that good people are confused by Nebraska's laws regarding self defense. If people are unable to understand the laws how are they to abide by it? Why should a law-abiding person not have the same right to defend their life in their front yard, sidewalk, grocery store, or workplace? Why should the law put a "burden to retreat" on any crime victim? If we want to "get tough on crime" we should be encouraging (or at least allowing) our citizens to stand up and defeat the criminal anywhere crime happens. Why don't we have a right to "stand our ground" against rapists and murders? It is important to emphasize that Castle Doctrine does not endorse unlawful aggression. It merely provides individuals with the necessary legal protection to respond to such aggression. Andy Allen - President NFOA