Daniels to have ‘a long look’ at illegal entry bill before decision to sign or veto

By Lesley Weidenbener
The Statehouse File

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mitch Daniels said Monday he hasn’t decided whether he’ll sign or veto a bill that is meant to give Hoosiers more authority to block police who try to enter their homes illegally.

Senate Bill 1 passed late Friday night – just hours before lawmaker adjourned their session – despite opposition from some police organizations and concerns about whether some residents might misunderstand the legislation.

Supporters said the bill restores “law-abiding citizens’ right to self-defense.”

But Daniels said he’s not ready to talk yet about whether he’ll sign the bill into law.

“I want to have a long look at it,” Daniels said.

If signed into law, the legislation will overturn a controversial decision made last year by the Indiana Supreme Court that stripped Hoosiers of what had been seen as a common-law right to resist anyone – including law enforcement – trying to enter their homes illegally.

The House approved the bill 67-26 and the Senate passed it 38-12.

The bill will essentially expand the state’s Castle Doctrine – a law that gives homeowners the right to defend their property against invasion – to include situations involving police. But it also provides some new but limited protections against the use of deadly force against police, unless an individual fears for his life or the lives of others.

The Fraternal Order of Police opposed the bill, despite the added protection. Officers said the court’s decision actually offered them the most protection and they preferred that the legislature do nothing.

Other critics said the legislation might lead some Hoosiers to believe they have the right to defend their homes against any police entry, even those that are legal.

But Young said the legislation will only be misconstrued if critics and the media share inaccurate information.

At the time the Indiana Supreme Court made its ruling last year, Daniels said he was “puzzled” by the decision.

But during the just-ended legislative session, Daniels stayed out of the debate. Now he said he’ll need more time to consider the issue and “see if anyone has anything to say I haven’t already heard.”

Lesley Weidenbener is the managing editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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