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Missouri proposes new Castle Doctrine law. Critics dub it the ‘Make Murder Legal Act’

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The latest attempt to alter Missouri’s gun laws would establish a presumption that individuals who use force against another person reasonably did so to defend themselves.

Prosecutors, sheriffs, police, civil rights and religious leaders slammed the proposal during a Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety hearing on Tuesday.

Okay, technically this bill wouldn’t make murder legal, per se. It would just make it easier to kill, well, pretty much anyone you want to—and as long as no one saw you do it, you can come up with just about any story you like and authorities will simply presume you were acting in self-defense. For instance, if this law had been in place in Wisconsin in 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse might have been able to murder a baker’s dozen or so protesters and maybe a Burger King cashier or two who’d pressed management’s right to refuse service to armed teenage boys who amble into private businesses inexplicably festooned in viscera.

Missouri law currently requires an individual to prove they reasonably believed physical or deadly force was needed for self-defense, according to a summary of the legislation.

What? You have to show that your life was threatened before you can go on a killing rampage? That’s an unreasonable restriction on one’s freedom to, you know, Daffy Duck your next-door neighbor’s face into spicy ground chuck over and over again. This isn’t Russia, man. But it could be if Missouri passes a law letting you gradually poison your wealthy invalid grandmother in self-defense.

Needless to say, there’s been some pushback on this bill. Republican Russ Oliver, a member of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, called it the “Make Murder Legal Act.” He explained: “What we are doing with this bill is … basically saying the 6,500 assaults that are committed every single year in Missouri — that every single one of those are automatically presumed to be self defense. … Right now, you have a right to defend yourself. There’s no one saying you can’t defend yourself. But you do have the burden of injecting the issue.”

Perversely, the law could also incentivize people engaged in “self-defense” to finish off their “attackers,” because if there are no witnesses to dispute your account, you’re apparently home free.

“So long as the person is dead … you automatically have immunity because there’s not someone else to even say what had happened,” said Oliver.

Those opposed to the bill include such bedfellows as Missouri Sheriffs United, the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police, and the Missouri NAACP.

So all the relevant stakeholders seem to think it’s a horrible idea, which would normally hearten me—but in this political climate, that may just give it rocket fuel. Because how can the vehement opposition of police and racial justice groups possibly stand up to the huzzahs of patriots like Mark McCloskey, the lawyer who was elevated to folk hero status for—wait, this can’t be right, can it?—brandishing a gun at peaceful marchers who happened to be walking past his house one day.

“The bill before the Senate now turns the Castle Doctrine into a bar to prosecution,” said McCloskey, who, along with his gun-slinging sidekick and wife, Patricia, pleaded guilty last year to misdemeanor charges filed in connection with their hissy fit. “We were shocked to find out when we were charged that the Castle Doctrine can only be raised as an affirmative defense. You have to have the jury decide the issue of whether or not you committed a crime, and then whether or not the Castle Doctrine provides you with a defense. That’s backwards.”

Yes, everyone knows that you murder first and coordinate your story with the paperboy and ice cream truck guy later. That’s just common sense.

Republican state Sen. Eric Burlison, a sponsor of the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, is also heartily in favor of the watershed “Kill ‘em All and Let God Sort ‘em Out” Act of 2022.

“[T]here are those who would seek to prosecute law-abiding Missourians whose only quote-unquote crime in that they were trying to defend themselves and/or their family members,” Burlison said.

Gee, he sounds kinda threatened. Everyone duck.

By the way, the legislation has been dubbed Senate Bill 666. I can only assume the legislative aide who thought up that gem recently interned at a branding agency that comes up with names for sex toys and hot sauces. Either that or they’re trolling us even more than normal.

To be honest, I don’t know what the fuck to believe anymore. 

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