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Home protection: All deserve to know the law

Bedford officials made the right call when they decided to hold a community meeting to discuss the reported home invasion of Nov. 24 that left Dr. Eduardo Quesada severely injured. The two-week delay in providing useful information to the public had a lot of people on edge. Unfortunately, new Police Chief John Bryfonski erred in refusing to answer a resident's question about homeowner self-defense rights.

People want to know how forceful the law says they can be when facing an assailant at home. Bryfonski should have had a ready answer for that predictable quesiton. Better yet, he could have had copies of the law to give to residents. Since he did not, we shall. The law regarding the use of deadly force in self-defense is RSA 627:4:II. It states:

"A person is justified in using deadly force upon another person when he reasonably believes that such other person:

(a) Is about to use unlawful, deadly force against the actor or a third person;

(b) Is likely to use any unlawful force against a person present while committing or attempting to commit a burglary;

(c) Is committing or about to commit kidnapping or a forcible sex offense; or

(d) Is likely to use any unlawful force in the commission of a felony against the actor within such actor's dwelling or its curtilage."

The law also states that merely displaying a firearm in response to "a threat which would be considered by a reasonable person as likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person or to another" is not a criminal act. Now you know.

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