Proposed Republican Bill Would Permit Ranchers Near AZ Border to Use Lethal Force Against Trespassers

A proposed bill moving forward in the Arizona legislature aims to grant ranchers the authority to employ lethal force in safeguarding their property from trespassers.

According to Axios, State Rep. Justin Heap (R) sponsored legislation known as HB 2843. The bill aims to address the issue of illegal immigrants crossing through private ranches after entering the U.S. unlawfully.

The AZ Mirror highlighted that Heap’s proposed legislation alters the state’s Castle Doctrine, expanding the circumstances where lethal force can be used beyond intrusions into one’s home.

Under the proposed changes, ranchers and other landowners would also be legally protected if they employ deadly force against individuals unlawfully present on their property.

Heap explained:

“Language like ‘and’ ‘or’ ‘either’…that one word can completely change the meaning of how this law is then applied. If a farmer owns 10,000 acres of farmland, his home may be a half a mile away from where he is, and if he sees someone on his land, can he approach them and (remove) them from his property? This is an amendment to fix that.”

State Rep. Alex Kolodin (R) lauded Heap’s legislation, saying, “This is a great Second Amendment bill, that is also protecting the rights of the accused to make sure we are taking ambiguity out of our law.”

HB 2843 passed in committee with a vote along party lines before securing passage in the Arizona House on February 22 by a narrow margin of 31-28.

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By Hunter Fielding
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