Proposed state legislation would give more legal protection to homeowners and residents who use deadly force

Proposed state legislation would give more legal protection to homeowners and residents who use deadly force to defend themselves from an intruder who has broken in.

The proposal addresses situations such as Jamie Chen’s shooting and killing of Roberto Vega-Gil Wednesday, after Vega-Gil broke into Chen’s Fitchburg home with what police officials said was the intention to carry out a burglary.

Current law only allows a homeowner to use lethal force as a defense if he or she believes the force was necessary to prevent death or serious injury. District attornies typically review such situations to establish whether a homeowner possessed a credible belief.

“The legislature ought to have a firmer policy,” Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover).

Holperin’s proposal requires courts to presume a homeowner believed death was a possibility, if lethal force was used in self defense.

“The individual should have the benefit of the doubt that the harm is going to come to the homeowner.”

There are both senate and assembly versions of the proposal. The senate proposal is being considered by the judiciary committee.