Mississippi Senator hopes bill will protect homeowners from "riff-raff" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mississippi Senator hopes bill will protect homeowners from "riff-raff"

It's the kind of bill that would usually fly under the radar: an attempt to give home owners more freedom to defend their turf.

But Mississippi State Senator Merle Flowers of Southaven recently said the bill is needed in DeSoto County because of crime caused by "riff-raff" from across the state line.

"Your home is your castle," Flowers told Action News 5 on Monday. "If someone appears to be a trespasser or an intruder, you have a right to shoot them."

Flowers is working to make it easier for Mississippians to defend their turf. He's the sponsor of a new bill that says deadly force may be used if someone is "forcibly entering... Or (has) entered a dwelling or vehicle." Flowers said current law requires a homeowner to retreat.

The matter became controversial after Flowers said the people of Desoto County have a special need for this bill, because of their proximity to Memphis. Flowers said the "riff-raff" from across the state line comes into Desoto County to commit crime.

But people who live on the Tennessee side of the state line have differing opinions. Douglas Ruffin, who lives three blocks from the state line, said the "riff-raff" comment bothered him. He said he too would defend his home, but doesn't care where the intruder is from.

"He's saying Memphians come down there and commit the crime, and they prefer to shoot them," Ruffin said.

Flowers said he hopes the message is soon clear. "If you come to Mississippi to commit a crime, either in home business or auto, you very well may find a gun barrel on the other side waiting on you."

The bill is known as the "Castle Doctrine," and a version has already passed the Mississippi House. Speaking to Action News 5 Monday, Flowers acknowledged that there is "riff-raff" on both sides of the state line.

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