Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gun ban spurs knife attacks: "The number of crimes involving knives on the streets of England and Wales has risen dramatically in the past year, with huge increases in their use during robberies, mugging and violent attacks on strangers. Attacks in which a knife was used during a mugging rose by 73 per cent while there was a 55 per cent increase in random attacks with knives on strangers. A report accompanying the figures from the British Crime Survey accuses John Reid, the Home Secretary, of presiding over an incoherent strategy to tackle the problem and of resorting to knee-jerk legislative responses. “Government and the police lack a coherent, evidence-based, reasoned strategy for dealing with knife carrying and knife-related offences,” the report from the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College London said. “There is insufficient evidence that a knife amnesty or increasing sentence length for carrying knives will decrease the level of knife use and carrying.” The surge in knife crime on the streets comes after a decade of decline."

15 States Expand Right to Shoot in Self-Defense: "Supporters call them "stand your ground" laws. Opponents call them "shoot first" laws. Thanks to this sort of law, a prostitute in Port Richey, Fla., who killed her 72-year-old client with his own gun rather than flee was not charged last month. Similarly, the police in Clearwater, Fla., did not arrest a man who shot a neighbor in early June after a shouting match over putting out garbage, though the authorities say they are still reviewing the evidence. The first of the new laws took effect in Florida in October, and cases under it are now reaching prosecutors and juries there. The other laws, mostly in Southern and Midwestern states, were enacted this year, according to the National Rifle Association, which has enthusiastically promoted them.... The Florida law, which served as a model for the others, gives people the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes. They no longer need to prove that they feared for their safety, only that the person they killed had intruded unlawfully and forcefully. The law also extends this principle to vehicles. In addition, the law does away with an earlier requirement that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. Now, that same person, in the law's words, "has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force." The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them."

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