COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH/AP) -- The chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus says South Carolina's "stand your ground" law is wrong and should be repealed.
Democratic Rep. Harold Mitchell of Spartanburg said Thursday the government should not tell people to confront force with force, rather than just walk away. His bill would delete from state law residents' right to use deadly force to defend themselves wherever they are, as long as they are there legally.
Sixteen other caucus members have signed on to the bill he introduced last week. They say repealing the law enacted in 2006 would make citizens safer.
Those disagreeing include fellow caucus member and House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, an attorney who has argued that defense.
Rutherford says people instinctively believe they can defend themselves, and the law guarantees that.
The recent murder of a midlands high schooler has stired up the stand your ground debate.Todd Rutherford is the attorney for the teen accused of killing Dutch Fork student Da'von Capers. He says his client will be invoking South Carolina's 'Stand Your Ground' law. Rutherford says 18 year-old Kierin Marcellus Dennis was in his car leaving Cook Out in Lexington when Capers approached Dennis's vehicle. "My client was leaving and Capers approached the car, people were surrounding his vehicle and Capers was reaching into the car trying to remove my client from the vehicle. My Client defended himself from inside his vehicle," said Rutherford. Rutherford says Dennis was scared of a large Dutch Fork crowd at the restaurant and was in the parking lot next to Cook Out leaving when he was being threatened. "This wasn't over a girl, my client was in fear of his life," said Rutherford. South Carolina's stand your ground law states you can use deadly force if you feel your being threatned inside an "occupied vehicle, or if he removes or is attempting to remove another person against his will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle." Below is the text from the South Carolina Code of Laws: SECTION 16-11-440. Presumption of reasonable fear of imminent peril when using deadly force against another unlawfully entering residence, occupied vehicle or place of business. (A) A person is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to himself or another person when using deadly force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury to another person if the person: (1) against whom the deadly force is used is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if he removes or is attempting to remove another person against his will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and (2) who uses deadly force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring or has occurred. (B) The presumption provided in subsection (A) does not apply if the person: (1) against whom the deadly force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle including, but not limited to, an owner, lessee, or titleholder; or (2) sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship, of the person against whom the deadly force is used; or (3) who uses deadly force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or (4) against whom the deadly force is used is a law enforcement officer who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle in the performance of his official duties, and he identifies himself in accordance with applicable law or the person using force knows or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter is a law enforcement officer. (C) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he has a right to be, including, but not limited to, his place of business, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person or to prevent the commission of a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60. (D) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60. (E) A person who by force enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle in violation of an order of protection, restraining order, or condition of bond is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act regardless of whether the person is a resident of the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle including, but not limited to, an owner, lessee, or titleholder