Oahu legislator proposes expansion of deadly force law

HONOLULU — An Oahu legislator has proposed an expansion of the state’s law allowing residents to use deadly force to defend themselves at their homes and businesses.

A bill introduced by Democratic Rep. Sean Quinlan would allow people to defend themselves without fear of criminal prosecution, Hawaii News Now reported Monday.

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Current Hawaii law allows residents to use deadly force only if situations occur inside their homes, but not outside on their property.

“If someone comes onto my property and they have a gun, they want to steal things from me, and maybe harm me, and I end up having to use deadly force to protect myself, I’m going to get arrested,” Quinlan said. “To me, that’s just wrong. That’s totally backwards.”

Quinlan believes Honolulu police are doing their best to address crime, but a shortage of officers requires communities to have more tools for protection.

“If we don’t have enough police officers, that suggests to me that we need to start defending ourselves,” he said.

The bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee but has not been given a hearing date.

Quinlan’s proposal is similar to “Stand Your Ground” laws in other states that say residents do not have to retreat from potentially violent confrontations before using deadly force.

Critics of “Stand Your Ground” have said the laws encourage more violence and are based on how threatened a person feels versus the reality of a threat.

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Supporters in Hawaii such as Michael Kitchens, the creator of anti-crime social media group Stolen Stuff Hawaii, believe the change would make criminals think twice.

“Knowing the fact that I don’t have to be inside my home, I don’t have to run away from you, I have a right to stand my ground on my property, that is a huge deterrent to anybody,” Kitchens said.

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