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Easier for homeowners to get away with murder?


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - It would be easier for Wisconsin homeowners to protect themselves from intruders under a bill endorsed by the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.

The measure now goes to the full Assembly.

Homeowners would no longer have to prove their lives were threatened if they kill intruders in self-defense – and the protection would also apply to a victim’s vehicle or business.

The National Rifle Association and state law enforcement agencies have strongly supported the bill, after GOP Senator Van Wangaard of Racine introduced it earlier this year.

But before the measure was endorsed this week, lawmakers debated the legal definition of a dwelling that would be covered.

West Allis Democrat Tony Staskunas wanted to know if the boundaries would include the municipal sidewalk in front of a house. Others said it’s a question the courts would have to decide.

Sun Prairie Democrat Gary Hebl said there would be few such cases, and he called the bill a solution in search of a problem. But an example of a case that might apply happened on August 27th in Waukesha County, when Mike Fitzsimmons shot-and-killed a 39-year-old intruder at his house in Okauchee. At last word, prosecutors were still considering possible charges.

The State Bar opposes the bill, saying it would create a legal presumption in favor of a murderer.

When Wangaard introduced the measure, he said homeowners are often reluctant to act against intruders for fear of legal punishment.