GO AHEAD….OR DON’T
The “Make My Day Claim,” also known as the United States Law Shield, supposedly exists to protect those who shoot and kill in an act of self defense. The reality is that the law is often misinterpreted, leading people to believe they are more protected under the law than they may actually be. First enacted in Colorado in 1985 under the name “Homeowners Protection Act,” the claim now goes as “Make My Day” after Clint Eastwood’s role in “Sudden Impact” when he dares a criminal to provoke him into shooting him. But it’s important to examine the law more closely.
UNLAWFUL ENTRY AND WHAT CONSTITUTES A THREAT
The US Shield Law does state that every citizen has the right to be safe and protected in their own home. Still, this doesn’t give residents a right to open fire on everyone who knocks on their door selling Girl Scout cookies. To have cause, the intruder must have committed an “Unlawful Entry” — meaning they weren’t invited into your home. Additionally, the resident must also have a reason to believe that the intruder has unlawfully entered with malicious intent in order to commit a crime. This can be difficult to prove in some cases, and obvious in others. Finally, it must also be proven that the intruder intended to use any degree of physical force against the resident. So if someone breaks into you house unarmed, never threatens you with violence, and steals your grandmother’s vase — you legally cannot shoot them.
HOW SAFE AM I?
If the resident acted in accord with all of the above circumstances, they will avoid prosecution under self defense. Still, charges can often still be levied against residents, especially civil suits. If you acted under the “Make My Day” laws, your case could potentially be dismissed.
THE U.S. SHIELD LAW PROGRAM
This program exists to serve the legal interests of those who have used a firearm against an intruder, and claims to cover nearly all fees related to “Make My Day” incidents. Still, it’s by no means a get out of jail free card, as it only covers legal gun use — so, if someone carries a gun where they’re not supposed to, good luck — and in a limited number of states.
The “Make My Day” claim can help to protect those who have acted in genuine self defense, still, it is essential to realize that there are specific requirements that have to be met in order to fall under the umbrella of legal defense.