An 18 year old Oklahoma woman will not face charges after she shot and killed a man trying to break into her home on New Year’s Eve. Sarah McKinley was on the phone with 9-1-1 and asked them if it was legal for her to shoot them if they broke through the door. The 9-1-1 dispatcher told the woman that she had to do what was necessary to protect herself and her 3 month old baby. McKinley told the dispatcher she was armed with two weapons and when 24 year old Justin Marten, armed with a knife, came through the barricaded door.
What would happen to Sarah McKinley if she lived in Nebraska? Andy Allen is the President of the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association and says the law is different here. He says in Nebraska you have to be under imminent threat of bodily harm, murder, rape or threat of kidnapping before using force to defend yourself. He says just because a person is armed and enters your home, that does not constitute grounds for self defense.
Allen says they want the laws changed so if someone enters a home illegally, it is presumed they have the ability to do bodily harm so a resident could at that time defend him or herself. They also want to make it against the law for the criminal or his or her family to come after the resident in civil court.
There are currently 29 states that have updated self defense laws. Nebraska is one of 21 that has not. Allen says over the past few years lawmakers have discussed a number of changes but bills and there have been five hearings but all remain stuck in the Judiciary Committee.
The Nebraska Firearm Association launched a website aimed at educating and promoting the passage of a Victim Protection Act in Nebraska. Details can be found online at ProtectVictimsNow.org.