Proposed legislation would allow homeowners to use deadly force while defending their homes, cars and more

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TENNESSEE- A Tennessee lawmaker recently proposed new legislation that would allow homeowners to use deadly force to protect their homes against robbery, arson, or burglary. 

State Representative Jay D. Reedy submitted HB0011 last week in a bid to grant residents protection when defending their property. The bill would amend Tennessee’s current laws that are related to the “justification excluding criminal responsibility.”

The bill outlines that homeowners would be justified in the use of deadly force to protect “real or tangible, movable property”.

The amendment reads:

“A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect real or tangible, movable property”

The legislation would allow residents to use discretion when defending their homes. It is outlined that deadly force can be used, “when and to the degree the person reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary.”

Under the legislation, deadly force is acceptable when residents are acting to prevent “the other’s imminent commission of an act of arson, burglary, theft during hours of darkness, robbery, or aggravated robbery”.

It is also stated that homeowners can use deadly force to prevent criminals from fleeing after committing a robbery or similar crime. The bill states that deadly force is justified to prevent criminals from “fleeing immediately after committing an act of arson, burglary, theft during hours of darkness, robbery, or aggravated robbery”.

Similar to this, there is also a subsection of the legislation that allows residents to use deadly force if they “reasonably” believe that using non-deadly force would put them in harms way.

The policy stipulates that deadly force is acceptable if:

“The use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the real or tangible, movable property would expose the person or a third person to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.”

Rep. Reedy spoke to Clarksville Now about the legislation saying:

“So if somebody came to your property, was stealing your lawnmower, stealing your car, you would not be able to use lethal force. I thought it was crazy that we could not use deadly force.”

Reedy later said:

“The bill is basically mirroring Texas law, but I don’t want Texas law. I want Tennessee law,”

The Tennessee Firearms Association also spoke about the bill calling it “a major change in Tennessee law.”

In a statement, the association called the bill a reflection of Tennessee resident’s “heightened interest” in defending their homes:

“The unusual thing is that the bill actually appears to reflect what a lot of Tennesseans already believe is the law but is not. The new legislation reflects a heightened interest in the rights of people to protect their homes, businesses, properties and items from thieves, rioters, looters and other criminals.”

The firearms association also pointed out the flaws within Tennessee’s current property defense laws. The statement continued:

“Further, under Tennessee law, the use of ‘deadly force’ does not require that a person actually discharge a firearm or cause injury with any other weapon. A person may be accused and convicted of using deadly force merely by ‘brandishing’ a weapon, that is, displaying it in a threatening manner towards another.”

In an interview, Reedy told the Tennessee Star:

“Tennesseans must have the right not only to protect their lives but their property,”

But, not everyone is on board with the amendments. Legal analyst Nick Leonardo argued against the bill calling it “vigilante legislation”.

Leonardo told WTVF:

“To be able to just shoot someone because you thought they were taking your personal property is not where America is or we’ve been in the last hundred years,”

Reedy has conceded that the legislation is still in the early stages of development and will go through further refinement to better fit the needs and wants of Tennessee residents.

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Two U.S. Marshals shot while bringing in one of Tennessee’s most wanted fugitives

MEMPHIS, TN- On Monday, November 2nd, two members of the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force, which is based in Jackson, Tennessee, were injured while attempting to arrest one of Tennessee’s most wanted fugitives, 39-year-old Bobby Joe Claybrook Jr., of Dyersburg, TN.

Exactly three months prior, on August 2nd, the Dyersburg Police Department issued warrants for Claybrook’s arrest. Authorities reported that Claybrook was being sought for attempted second-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault and felon in possession of a handgun.

On August 3rd, the U.S. Marshals task force adopted the case and began searching for Claybrook, who was on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s (TBI) Most Wanted List.

There was a reward of up to $2,500 being offered for anyone who could provide information that would lead to Claybrook’s arrest. 

Claybrook Jr. was on the run for three months before the task force was able to track him to a home in the 200 block of Morningside Drive on Monday. 

The U.S. Marshals reported that as the task force approached the residence, two task force members sustained injuries as a result of gunshots. A perimeter was established, and the task force called the Jackson Police Department for assistance.

The Jackson Police Department’s SWAT Team and negotiators arrived and a four hour standoff ensued, which culminated with Claybrook surrendering.

One of the injured task force members was a Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) agent, and the other was a deputy U.S. Marshal. Both members of the task force were treated and released from a local hospital.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s is handling the shooting investigation.

U.S. Marshal Tyreece Miller said in a statement:

“Finding violent fugitives is one of the most dangerous missions in law enforcement,”

He continued:

“I’m thankful for the task force team’s bravery in pursuing the worst of the worst. I’m also appreciative of the partnerships with TDOC, as well as other contributing agencies to our task force. The Marshals Service could not effectively do what we do without them, and for that reason, the community is safer.”

Donna Turner, director of the Tennessee Department of Corrections also said in a statement: 

“The TDOC Office of Investigations and Conduct (OIC) has a strong partnership across the State of Tennessee with the U.S. Marshals Service, with multiple special agents assigned to each regional task force, along with officers from other law enforcement agencies.

This incident is one example of how dangerous their assignments are and the commitment of TDOC to support public safety with the daily apprehension of fugitives in our communities.

“Agents are working closely with the Jackson Police Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the 26th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee, and the U.S. Marshals Service as they continue their investigation into the capture of Bobby Joe Claybrook Jr. Our agent continues to recover from his injuries at home.

“Thanks to all of the continued thoughts and prayers for him, the TDOC and the task force family,”

According to The U.S. Marshal’s, The Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force (GCRFTF) has offices in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.

The West Tennessee office consists of Deputy U.S. Marshals, Investigators with the Jackson Police Department, Agents with the Tennessee Department of Correction, Investigators with the Memphis Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

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