Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has signed into law a bill that would allow residents to use force against police that they believe to be unlawfully entering their home:
The governor’s office says that Daniels signed the bill aimed at giving people the right to defend their homes against illegal entry by police Tuesday evening.
The bill that was a response to a public uproar over a state Supreme Court ruling last year that residents couldn’t resist officers even during an illegal entry.
Supporters say the proposal strengthens the legal rights of people against government agents improperly entering their homes. But police groups worry about the measure giving people justification for attacking officers.
This bill precariously straddles the line between rightfully protecting one’s home and giving incentive for unnecessary violence. The distinction must be made between the unlawful entry of a police officer and that of any other person. The intent of the former, be it correct or not, is to enforce law with as little violence as possible. The intent of any other intruder is to steal property or bring harm to an occupant, and thus always merits force against the intruder.
The bill clarifies when a person is legally justified in using force and when they are not, but codifying this sort of legal defense may encourage residents to make that distinction by means of physical force instead of jurisprudence.