Why Santa Should Bypass Stand Your Ground States

For his own safety, Santa Claus might want to bypass and avoid some places in America. Soaring through the Christmas skies won’t be a problem for the guy in red, because NORAD is tracking and protecting him from airborne missiles and ground-to-air fire. He’ll be OK.

Once landing on rooftops, hopefully Santa’s sleigh is as silent as the night. Chimneys might be too hot in winter temperatures, and that’s when it could really get dangerous, but not because of a fireplace. The heat could come from gunfire.

If someone hears sounds on their roof, they could just shoot first, and ask questions later. Or, if a person in that house feels threatened by Santa or an elf, and is afraid of bodily harm, they could have that red and white outfit soaked in Santa’s blood.
Santa and stand your ground

One very tragic incident occurred two years ago, two days before Christmas Day, when 14 year-old Kiana O’Neil was accidentally killed by her stepfather, an Iraq war veteran, as she sneaked into her home in Colorado.

What many gun-owning homeowners may not realize is the difference between stand your ground law and “castle doctrine”, sometimes called castle laws. Under castle doctrine, you do not need a “stand your ground” law to defend yourself in your home. Yet, some folks may not have ever heard of the castle doctrine, and erroneously think that stand your ground law gives them special constitutional rights they didn’t already have, and that repealing stand your ground law would take away those rights.

Based on England’s 17th century doctrine that a man’s home is his castle the doctrine has been in place for hundreds of years. (in some states, a vehicle is also an extension of the castle). In the castle, or anyplace a person owns or rents and has a legal right to be, under castle law, that person also has a right to defend himself and family against great bodily harm or death, if a person fears an imminent threat – even if by deadly force.

Some states apply castle doctrine if the occupants reasonably believe the intruder intends to commit a felony such as arson or burglary. The occupant must not have provoked or instigated the intrusion nor an intruder’s threat or use of deadly force. And some states still include a “duty to retreat” clause (which means to seek safety and call – or try to call – the police first) in their self-defense laws.

SEE: Does Your State Have A Stand Your Ground Law?

In every state, the occupant(s) must have a legal right to be there, cannot be fugitive(s) or aiding/abetting other fugitives from the law, and the law can’t be used against a law enforcement officer performing his duty. In some states, the occupant must not be engaged in any unlawful activity during the encroachment, and, in most cases, the castle doctrine gives immunity from civil charges also.

Stand your ground laws change the castle doctrine by relieving a “duty to retreat” inherent in castle doctrine, and applying it to anywhere a person has a right to be. More than half of all American states have some variation of these two, distinct laws.

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