Alabama Self-Defense Law In Effect - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

East Alabama

Alabama Self-Defense Law In Effect

If you use a weapon in self-defense in Alabama, you can escape arrest thanks to a new state law. Some people have mixed feelings about it.

"I think it's a good law, but I think someone's going to take advantage of it," said Michael Holloway, a resident of Opelika.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said it better protects victims.

"This basically puts a little more teeth, if you will, into the issue that it protects a person defending themselves from civil and criminal liability issues in the event of an unprovoked attack," Jones said.

Holloway said he'd still be reluctant to use deadly force, even if someone attacked him in his home or car.

"I don't know if I think I have the nerve to do something to them, but I probably could hold them down until the police get there. If I really had to, I wouldn't know. I really couldn't give you an answer right now on that. It kind of scares me a little bit," said Holloway.

Sheriff Jones said some people might think of the new law as "shoot first, ask questions later," but it still requires a person to fear for their life and prove they are in danger.

"It is the perception of the victim at the time of the event, or the attack, in regard to whether they feel that their life is threatened, or life of a third-party in their presence is threatened," said Jones.

There is an exception to the new self-defense law. You cannot use deadly force if a person coming into your home is a family member or a police officer. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue also signed a similar law back in April. It goes into effect on July 1, 2006.

--Written by: Brock Parker

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