Lawmakers consider deadly force measures

Lawmakers heard testimony on two bills Wednesday involving the use of deadly force in self-defense.

Nebraska already has self-defense laws that include the use of deadly force, but some people think those laws are unclear.  The bills introduced are supposed to fix that.

One bill would give a woman the right to use deadly force to protect her unborn child, by including that child in the definition of a third person.  State Senator Mark Christensen of Imperial introduced the bills.  He says, “Under Nebraska's current law, a pregnant women may not have the same right to use force to protect her unborn child.”

It's the way the new bill is written has raised some serious questions about misuse.  Opponents and some members of the committee are concerned someone might use the bill to justify attacks on people who perform abortions.  Melissa Grant testified on behalf of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.  She says, “It would give license to restrain a person who is going to an appointment to receive an abortion.”

Sen. Christensen says his intent was only to protect a woman's pregnancy in unlawful situations.

The second bill makes it easier for anyone to use deadly force if they feel their life is in immediate danger.  Right now, someone put in that situation must first try to retreat from the confrontation before using deadly force.  Those for the bill say it would give victims back their rights.  “Right now the criminal is given more rights than the victim.  This would change that.”

No one spoke against that bill at Wednesday's hearing,  but in the past opponents have said it gives someone a right to commit murder.