Home invaders beware, may soon be safe to defend castles

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

By The Illinois Leader-Springfield Bureau

SPRINGFIELD -- Despite the threat of a veto from Governor Blagojevich, the Illinois Senate voted Tuesday with a 41 to 16 vetoproof majority to allow homeowners the right to defend their property with a firearm.

Senator Ed Petka (R-Plainfield) told Wilmette residents earlier this year that it's a natural right, if not duty, to defend one's property.

If his SB 2165 is signed by the Governor, that right will be protected by state law.

"Senate Bill 2165 reaffirms what I believe is the real role of a citizen and that is that he has the right and some would say the duty to defend himself and his family in his own home," the bill's sponsor, Senator Ed Petka (R-Plainfield), said.

Although Petka wasn't optimistic about the bill's passage through the Illinois General Assembly three months ago, he was successful in shepherding the legislation through the Illinois Senate with a final passage vote on Tuesday.

The former prosecuting attorney proposed the bill early in the session in reaction to a Wilmette resident, Hale DeMar, who defended his family from a home invader with a handgun banned in his city.

"A person's home is their castle, and that is right that is part of the natural law," the sixteen year veteran senator said. "It's the law of nature dealing with self-preservation."

SB 2165 says that an individual who uses a firearm in self defense in his home has an affirmative defense to charge he unlawfully possessed the firearm in his home, Petka told IllinoisLeader.com earlier this year.

The sixteen senators opposing SB 2165 were: Collins, Cullerton, del Valle, Garrett, Harmon, Hunter, Lightford, Link, Maloney, Martinez, Munoz, Obama, Ronen, Sandoval, Schoenberg, Silverstein -- all Democrats. Meeks (I) and Syverson (R) did not vote.

Governor Blagojevich suggested earlier this year that he would veto the legislation if it made it to his desk. 36 votes are needed for a veto override.

© 2004 Illinois Leader.com -- all rights reserved



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