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Texas governor signs 'shoot first' law

[JURIST] Texas Governor Rick Perry [official website] Tuesday signed into law [press release] a new so-called "shoot first" law [SB 378 materials], which allows state residents to use deadly force to respond to threats in their homes, cars, and at jobs. The bill, also known as a "stand your ground" law, was approved by large majorities in both houses of the Texas Legislature. In his statement, Perry said "The right to defend oneself from an imminent act of harm should not only be clearly defined in Texas law, but is intuitive to human nature." The legislation, which requires that the person defending themselves be unprovoked, also provides civil immunity for any justified action under the law. The Texas law takes effect September 1, 2007.

Georgia enacted a similar law last July, and Florida adopted [JURIST reports] a "shoot first" law in 2005. Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and South Dakota all have enacted similar legislation as well. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence [advocacy website] has continually called such legislation "phenomenally dangerous," but the National Rifle Association [advocacy website] maintains that these laws are necessary to protect innocent citizens. AP has more.

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