This weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) in Houston, Tex., will be highlighted by a discussion of so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws and what can happen when you do, with three self-defense experts including Marty Hayes, president of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network and founder of the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Examiner learned today.
Joining Hayes on the panel are nationally-recognized firearms instructor and lethal force expert Massad Ayoob, and Chris Bird, author of “Thank God I had a Gun.”
This is the 28th annual GRPC, co-sponsored by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The weekend conference will also feature Emily Miller, senior opinion editor at the Washington Times and author of the recently-released “Emily Gets Her Gun…but Obama Wants to Take Yours.”
The conference is being held at the Marriott Hotel, Houston International Airport from Friday evening through midday Sunday. This column will report from there.
Stand Your Ground laws are under attack in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting and the acquittal of George Zimmerman in that case earlier this year. Washington does not have an SYG statute, but it has long been recognized by this state’s courts that there is “no duty to retreat” from an attack that occurs in a place where the victim has a right to be.
How this may play in the current investigation of a fatal shooting in Maple Valley this morning would be speculation. That investigation is still very much in progress, but new facts are emerging. It will be up to the King County Prosecutor's office to determine the disposition of this case, which may be self-defense.
According to the Seattle Times, a suspected car prowler was confronted by its owner, tentatively identified as Keenan Hague by KING-TV early this morning. Hague is being identified as a former Marine. According to King County Sheriff’s spokesman Charlie Akers, the shooting occurred near the end of a street in a residential neighborhood. He told Examiner Tuesday afternoon that the stolen car had a flattened front tire and what appeared to be bullet holes into the engine compartment.
As this column reported earlier, the suspected thief was armed with a .45-caliber pistol, and so was Hague, with a 9mm pistol. In an exchange of gunfire, the suspect was fatally wounded, but nobody else was hit. The Seattle Times is also reporting that Hague’s aunt, identified as Kristin Hague, tried to perform CPR on the fatally wounded suspect.
The dead man and his female companion arrived at the scene in Honda sedan that had been reported stolen in Kent. The license plates had been switched. The woman is now in custody on outstanding warrant for burglary and she may face additional charges related to this morning’s shooting.
This state’s court history of no duty to retreat dates back nearly a century, to a 1917 case State v. Meyer, which this column quickly found referenced at the Democratic Underground and discussed by law professor John Q. La Fond in the University of Puget Sound Law Review, 1983, which may be seen here. Just reading the footnotes provides an intense look at self-defense in Washington State.
Other states do not share this history, and the relative recent adoption of SYG laws by several states has put them in the lobbying crosshairs of anti-self-defense organizations that, according to many in the firearms community, care more about the rights of criminals than about their victims.
Ayoob has recently authored a series of articles on the Zimmerman-Martin case at Backwoods Home.com that should be required reading for anyone interested not just in that case, but in self-defense and the aftermath of a shooting in a politically-charged atmosphere. The Washington Times reported last week that the prosecutor in that case, Angela Corey, is now under state investigation for an issue related to the Zimmerman case.