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Bill to affirm right of self defense, use of deadly force to stop rape, kidnapping voted down in Maine House

Rep. John Andrews (R – Paris) is the sponsor of L.D. 533 “An Act To Eliminate the Statutory Duty To Retreat and Affirm the Right of Self-defense”

AUGUSTA – Rep. John Andrews’ (R – Paris) bill to affirm the right of Mainers to defend themselves was defeated yesterday morning in a party line vote in the Maine House.

Under current Maine law, Maine people are legally required to “retreat” in a confrontation with a person who they feel is threatening them, if they feel they could do so safely.

Under Rep. Andrews’ bill, that part of the law is stripped away, and a new provision added saying that a person is not required to retreat if they feel the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or another person.

The bill also would allow the use of deadly force to defend a dwelling or prevent the forcible commission of a kidnapping, robbery or gross sexual assault.

In his floor speech, Rep. Andrews pointed to Maine’s Constitution and the natural right of Mainers to defend life and maintain safety, listed in Article 1, Section 1 of the Maine Constitution.

“This bill is necessary to protect everyday Mainers from harm if they face a dangerous situations outside of their domicile in a place they legally have the right to be,” said Rep. Andrews.

Rep. Charlotte Warren (D – Hallowell) argued that the proposal was “truly not needed” because Maine law says a person does not have a duty to retreat in a person’s own home or if they are not the initial aggressor.

Rep. Warren did not address the pieces of Andrews’ law that would protect the use of deadly force in preventing a robbery, kidnapping or rape.

The vote split mostly along party lines, with all Republicans and four Democrats voting against a motion to kill the bill, but 78 Democrats and liberal Independent Representatives prevailing in a vote to kill the bill.

You can read the text of the bill by clicking here.

You can read the full roll call by clicking here. (A “Y” indicates a vote in opposition to the bill. An “N” indicates a vote in support of the bill.)

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