NC lawmakers seek to repeal parts of state’s ‘Stand your ground’ law

Paul Morgan of Wilson. Photo by Amy Cutler/CBS North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For Paul Morgan, North Carolina’s “Stand your ground” law is personal.

On May 23, 2016, Morgan says a man was breaking into his Wilson home when he shot and killed the intruder.

“I was scared. I did what I had to do,” Morgan said.

The incident happened in the middle of the night.

The 71-year-old and his wife were asleep when they heard that suspect trying to kick in their front door.

“We thought somebody, he was going to break in and kill me and my wife. I just did what I had to do,” Morgan said.

Morgan showed CBS North Carolina the bullet holes in his front door.

Morgan said he warned the intruder several times to stop and that when he didn’t listen, that’s when Morgan fired two shots through his door.

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“I think about it just about every day because that’s not something I don’t want to take nobody’s life and I don’t want nobody to take mine,” Morgan said.

After investigating, Wilson police and the district attorney’s office decided not to charge Morgan.

“If you’re coming into someone’s house, I think it’s wrong. Especially that time of night. Both of us were in the bed. So he just protected us,” Morgan’s wife, Gladys, said.

A bill now being introduced in the North Carolina House would repeal the state’s stand your ground law.

“The Trayvon Martin case proved that it can be used in a way to justify a killing that was unjustifiable,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford).

Harrison is one of the sponsors of House Bill 723.

“It’s not necessary. I think It leads to more mayhem and death and we just feel like it shouldn’t be on our books,” Harrison said of the current law.

Under the current law, residents have the right to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes, vehicles and workplaces.

HB723 would limit that to just the home.

House Speaker Tim Moore defended the existing law. He says the new bill doesn’t have the support to move forward.

“It doesn’t give you the right to go out and use lethal force for someone trespassing,” Moore said. “You have to still be able to articulate that you can a reasonable fear of imminent physical injury.”

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