BELLEVUE, Wash., April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms this morning said legislation unveiled last Friday to repeal Washington State's strong self-defense protection is "an outrageous attack on the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families."
House Bill 2067, sponsored by anti-gun State Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48th District), would repeal a long-standing state statute that provides state reimbursement of all reasonable legal costs when a citizen is charged with a crime and later found not guilty by reason of self-defense. This bill was read for the first time on Saturday, and is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, April 13 at 3 p.m. before the House Ways and Means Committee, which Hunter chairs.
"What Hunter is trying to do," said CCRKBA Legislative Director Joe Waldron, "is limit the citizens' right of self-defense by eliminating any chance of reimbursement by the state if they must defend themselves in court.
"The Legislature is scratching for money anywhere they can find it," he continued, "but in this case, Hunter is trying to balance the budget by jeopardizing the self-defense rights of law-abiding citizens. That's unconscionable, and the fact that he is trying to ram this through at the 11th hour with very little public notice is outrageous."
Washington's reimbursement statute, RCW 9A.16.110, is unique in the nation. It dates back more than 30 years, and is an important barrier that discourages unwarranted prosecution of citizens who defend themselves or their families, or other crime victims. The law provides for reimbursement of legal costs, and even lost wages due to confinement. These costs are awarded only when the claim of self-defense is sustained by a preponderance of the evidence.
"It is traumatic enough that a citizen must forcefully defend himself or herself, their family or some other person who is being attacked," Waldron stated. "For that citizen to be subjected to a legal nightmare that could wipe them out financially is a moral insult. Our existing law protects citizens from this kind of legal abuse. We're encouraging out members to call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 to oppose this measure."
With more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (www.ccrkba.org) is one of the nation's premier gun rights organizations. As a non-profit organization, the Citizens Committee is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local communities throughout the United States.
SOURCE Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms