Deadly Force Law Takes Effect In Mississippi

Mississippi's new deadly force law took effect over the weekend, protecting your right to defend your property. But before you shoot without thinking twice, you need to know when the law doesn't apply.

"You can take action to defend yourself, and the law isn't going to second guess you after the fact," Sen. Charlie Ross said.

Ross introduced the law that presumes you've acted responsibly in those cases, and makes you immune to civil liability.

But what happens if the intruder is stealing your car while you're not in it? Or if you see a peeping tom staring through the window? The new law doesn't apply if the intruder isn't actually breaking in, or if you're not inside your home.

"If you're not in it, then the question is whether you acted responsibly and everything. It goes back to the original law and it will be looked at after the fact," Ross said.

Philip Weinberg is the Assistant District Attorney for Hinds County. He says the law will only make prosecuting some cases much tougher

"My concern is that it will be confusing to both judges and juries," Weinberg said.

He also says it's unnecessary. He couldn't recall any case where a Mississippian was prosecuted for defending his property.

"We hear cases of burglars getting shot in the back while they're running away. I have concerns about that. But even in those cases the grand juries probably aren't going to indict."

While Weinburg fears the law will encourage more violence, Senator Ross says it brings a new sense of comfort to Mississippians.

"This is going to have a good effect because its coming down solidly on the side of law abiding citizens," Ross said.

"We're just going to have to wait and see how it plays out in the courtroom," Weinburg said.

The National Rifle Association lobbied hard for this law in several states this year. Nine other states passed laws similar to Mississippi's this year.

by Wendy Suares