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Mitch DanielsIn a potentially historic move, Republican Governor Mitch Daniels has signed Senate Enrolled Act 1 into law in Indiana.

The new law will allow citizens to use deadly force against police officers they believe are illegally entering their homes.

The bill had passed the Senate earlier this month.

Republicans say that the new bill is meant to keep the boys in blue safe, but Democrats argue that the bill will lead to the reckless killing of police officers.

Rep. Craig Fry, a Democrat, says the bill “is going to cause people to die and it’s too late after somebody dies for a jury to sort it out. Somebody’s going to die, whether it’s a police officer or an individual who thinks a police officer is entering their home unlawfully. People are going to die.”

Fry’s cohort, Democratic Rep. Linda Lawson, a former police captain, says the bill would create an “open season on law enforcement,” and it is opposed by “1,250 state police officers and 14,000 men and women in blue, brown and green.”

The new law effectively reverses a state Supreme Court ruling that said homeowners don’t have the right to use force against law enforcement officials whom they think are entering their homes illegally.

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That ruling came after an Evansville resident fought a police officer who followed him into his house during a domestic dispute call.

“The state Supreme Court found that officers sometimes enter homes without warrants for reasons protected by the law, such as pursuing suspects or preventing the destruction of evidence. In these situations, we find it unwise to allow a homeowner to adjudge the legality of police conduct in the heat of the moment,” the court said. “As we decline to recognize a right to resist unlawful police entry into a home, we decline to recognize a right to batter a police officer as a part of that resistance.”

While announcing that the bill had become law, Governor Daniels tried to calm fears of an “open season” on police officers.

“Today is an important day to say: Indiana’s outstanding law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect all Hoosiers. The right thing to do is cooperate with them in every way possible. This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers. In fact, it restricts when an individual can use force, specifically deadly force, on an officer, so don’t try anything. Chances are overwhelming you will be breaking the law and wind up in far worse trouble as a result.”

The law goes into effect on July 1.

Is this new bill really a good idea, or will it lead to the reckless slaughter of police officers?

Time will tell.

 

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