A new Alabama law went into effect today, giving citizen’s greater legal safeguard if they choose to protect themselves rather than flee an intruder.
The bill was passed to enhance a citizens' right to self-defense.
Governor Riley signed the self defense law in April. The new legislation is designed to shield those who use deadly force in self-defense from criminal prosecution or civil action.
Dothan Police Chief John Powell said, "People in Alabama were concerned about intruders about welfare and wanted to make sure they were protected if they had to use deadly force."
The new law also allows both homeowners and vehicle occupants to defend themselves, rather than retreat when faced with an intruder. Most Dothan residents agree that the bill offers needed protection to law abiding citizens.
"People need to be able to protect themselves without being prosecuted and same with car jacking, they deserve to be shot," said Jim Sisk.
"If it means taking their lives, then I will but my children are my first priority," said Revonda Sawyer.
Dothan Police think the new law may slightly decrease the amount of violence in the city.
"It helps them and goes against the bad guys, it can e used against them and hopefully it will lower the violence," said Chief Powell
The law does not permit the use of deadly force against those who have a right to be in a house or against law enforcement officers carrying out their duties
Alabama is one of 11 states that have passed similar laws.