News Opinions / Op-eds

Editorial on Castle Doctrine Bill

Coming to the Idaho State Legislature to represent the people of District 23 and the people of the state has been an honor. I have had opportunity to learn so much. One of the opportunities that I cherish the most was being asked by citizens from all over the state to carry the Castle Doctrine upgrade.

This issue is very personal to me. I have had to use a firearm to protect my daughter. This is a decision that is not taken lightly. In a matter of seconds, a decision is made that will forever impact your life. If you do not use force against force how do you explain to that child why their parent, the one who has the God-given responsibility to keep them safe, was not able to do so. How does one look herself in the mirror and know that she was not able to keep that child safe from a horrific experience that will change their life forever, or even end that precious life.

The legislation that we are proposing is written by Alexandria Kincaid, one of the foremost 2nd amendment lawyers in the United States. Alexandria is a former prosecuting attorney, elected district attorney; she has tried hundreds of cases involving guns, is an expert marksman, and has hunted all over the world.

The doctrine proposed would codify existing jury instructions for the State of Idaho. Current statute requires homeowners to prove that they were in fear of losing their life, or in fear of bodily harm. The new legislation would shift the burden of proof from the homeowner to the perpetrator, the invader of your home, business, vehicle, or any dwelling including a tent, cabin or any structure to which you have a legal right to be, even as a guest.

The legislation provides for criminal immunity should the State attempt to punish you for defending your life, and would require the State to reimburse legal expenses to you should you be found not guilty. There is also a provision for civil immunity that would prevent the family of the perpetrator from suing you for acting in self-defense. It is horrific enough to know that you had to pull the trigger, without having to endure an investigation that assumes that you were wrong in making that split-second decision to defend those most precious to you.

We have been in session for almost eight weeks. Work has been done to move the bill to a print hearing every single day. The draft of this legislation was prepared prior to the beginning of the session. Before the first week was over we had an RS of the bill. Chairman Loertscher of State Affairs thumbed through the RS and immediately told me it had language problems. I returned several times that week to find out what the problems were. There was never a clear answer. I invited Alexandria to come to the capital to discuss these issues with the chairman. She addressed all his concerns and a new draft was prepared and a new RS written. She also prepared a 37-page clarifying explanation so the Chairman could understand the RS.

Again, returning the RS to the Chairman, his only comments were “language” problems. In the meantime, the bill was shared with other legislators. The concerns were addressed. To date 18 brave patriot legislators have cosponsored the legislation. One more draft was prepared addressing clerical issues and some wording. The bill was hand carried to the Chairman, and was denied a print hearing again.

Tuesday, I spoke with the chairman and was informed that others were working on a castle doctrine bill and that I should work with them. I am more than willing to work with others. I believe that the work of Alexandria is valuable to the discussion as she has the necessary experience to understand the legality of gun legislation more than most. When I asked, who was working on another version of castle doctrine legislation, I was told by Chairman Loertscher that he would have them contact me. I have heard nothing.

Before coming to the legislature, I had heard stories of “secret committees”, clandestine meetings, elite groups who control the destiny of those outside the marble halls of the capital. I chose not to believe it. Sadly, the proof is to the contrary. The good old boys and/or girls club is alive and well. The game is more important than representing the voice of those outside the walls of the “People’s House”. Am I discouraged? Somewhat. Will I give up? No, absolutely not. I have been entrusted to represent others’ voices in a process I consider sacred that has endured for over 200 years. I believe the Constitution and our form of government was ordained by our Creator. Other than being a mother, I can think of no more sacred assignment.

Call, email or message, I do my best to answer all that are received.

God bless each of us, our Nation, and our State.

Representative Christy Zito (District 23)

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