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Repeal of Citizen’s Arrest Law Will Endanger the Lives of Georgia’s Citizens by Miguel A. Faria, MD

This week Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that made the Peach State the first in the nation to repeal its citizen’s arrest statute.

“Today we are replacing this Civil War-era law, ripe for abuse, with language that balances the sacred right of self-defense of person and property with our shared responsibility to root out injustice and set our state on a better path forward,” Mr Kemp said, as reported by The Hill.

When this law was proposed and discussed in the state last year, following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, I wrote a letter rebutting many of the misconceptions, deliberate omissions, and misrepresentations about the law. The letter wasn’t published in any of Georgia’s newspapers, although I have been a guest columnist in the Macon Telegraph for many years.

My rebuttal still holds because the misrepresentations and frank mendacity used in reporting by the media about this politically correct, but misguided law are still being bandied about as if they were truths that are self-evident.

It’s worth repeating my points here as I wrote and submitted them back to the press, July 14, 2020:

Dear Editor of The Georgia Recorder,

I read with interest Stanley Dunlap’s article on the Georgia Citizen’s Arrest law. Let me categorically state that the killing of Ahmaud Arbery had nothing to do with the citizen arrest law. There is no evidence the killers were attempting to arrest Arbery, but the incident had more to do with plain thuggery, and there are laws already on the books to punish hate crimes and murder. The incident is being used to attempt to change or repeal the law for ulterior motives related to citizen disarmament and gun control through the back door.

Murder is murder. The Waycross prosecutor who cited the law as justification for the actions of the men who pursued and killed Arbery in Brunswick was trying to score political points rather than seek justice for the young black man.

Clarification will be used to declaw the measure, but it seems repeal is the ultimate goal of the Democrat state lawmakers as well as by the Mercer law professor cited in your article, “I think it’s a good idea to repeal the statute altogether but at a minimum it really ought to be clarified because it is not helpful for a private citizen trying to understand what the law authorizes.”

Repeal of this law will leave citizens, who have nothing to do with this crime, helpless, and at the mercy of criminals at home and in the streets; and if cornered, would be left with having to resort to more drastic actions. Repeal of the Citizen’s Arrest law may have unintended consequences, such as the killing of suspects who otherwise would have been arrested and handed over to the police.

It was very wise that our legislators enacted the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground laws. They help to stem crime at home and in the streets. With the citizen’s arrest law, citizens will not have to resort to more drastic measures in protecting their homes and loved ones.

And since “criminal justice reform,” racism, and “Civil War-era” history were brought into play, let me also say that gun control was passed in the South after the Civil War to deprive black citizens of their right to keep and bear arm, a civil right that was incorporated in the 14th Amendment.

The inconvenient fact — namely, that blacks were deprived of their Second Amendment rights for needed self, home, and family protection in the post-Civil War-era — was not mentioned in your report. That in and of itself is quite telling and reveals selective omission, in other words, bias and misinformation. Perhaps, since I bring a much needed contrarian point of view, my little letter may resonate with at least some of your readers.

Sincerely,  Dr. Miguel Faria

In Georgia, citizen’s arrests are not uncommon. In fact in June 2017, two escaped convicts, dangerous criminals in my own county of Baldwin County, Georgia, killed two guards and broke out of jail. After a crime spree, they were finally apprehended by an armed citizen at his own doorstep.

A friend commented and asked me, “You already have in Georgia ‘stand your ground,’ the ‘castle doctrine,’ protected self-defense, etc. Why do you need this law?”

I replied, “What do you do if your home (your castle) is broken into by two burglars in the daytime, who are nevertheless unarmed and want to carry off your wife’s jewelry and any other valuables that strike their fancy? You will have to let them take what they want.”

As we have seen with the COVID 19 and George Floyd riots, the police have not been either prompt or reliable — and in many jurisdictions, they have been unwilling or unable — to protect citizens, homes, or businesses. In others, they have been defunded.

While you call the police and risk your life and those of your loved ones, the criminals are free to do as they like, take what they want, and leave. What do you say now?

Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. Author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).  His most recently released book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Repeal of Citizen’s Arrest Law Will Endanger the Lives of Georgia’s Citizens., May 25, 2021. Available from:

This article also appeared on and The Truth About Guns (TTAG) on May 14, 2021.

Copyright ©2021 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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2 thoughts on “Repeal of Citizen’s Arrest Law Will Endanger the Lives of Georgia’s Citizens by Miguel A. Faria, MD”

  1. I hope I don’t ever find myself in a situation in which I have to shoot someone, even the worse of thugs. As a person as well as a physician I would hate to take a human life period. But I would definitely defend my life and those around me if I’m placed in such predicament. As The act of self-defense can have a double effect: As I quoted Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Summa Theologica in my book, “The preservation of one’s life; and the killing of the aggressor… The one is intended, the other is not.” Indeed it is not my intend to kill anyone but to preserve life in self-defense. Moreover, as I also wrote in my book on the morality of self-defense: “Most religions agree on the right to self-defense. The Catholic catechism states: ‘Legitimate defense can be not only a right but also a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm.’ Pope John Paul II further expounded on the natural right to self-defense, incorporating the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, “Unfortunately, it happens that the need to render the aggressor incapable of causing harm sometimes involves taking his life. In this case, the fatal outcome is attributable to the aggressor whose actions brought it about, even though he may not be morally responsible because of a lack of the use of reason.”

  2. In self-defense, although you are defending yourself, had you shot him, you would be open to civil suits by the family. Right?— PaulineBS, FB

    Pauline, one can be sued for anything, but whether they will win is another story, and it would certainly depend on the state you live. Self-defense insurance is now highly recommended. The fact the police may not file charges — justifiable homicide— is also on the side of the intended victim; but that also depends on the state in which you live, and whether the state has passed the Stand Your Ground and the Castle Doctrine legislation. See Chapters 18 & 25 in America, Guns, and Freedom (2019)— Dr. Miguel Faria 

    Dr Faria, I am aware of “your home is your castle” doctrine and it also applies to your car. Also, how each state has their own rules. We live in an open carry state, SC, but it’s only been that way for a month. I don’t know if it will incite or deter potential shootings.

    Pauline you live in my favorite state, SC but not all states that have the Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground, have the car as an extension of your home for self-defense purposes, but GA and SC do, which is a plus for defending against car hijacking and fear for your life in your car. Moreover, since you live in SC (and same for Georgia and many others Southern states), a woman defending herself against a male intruder is another plus for the rights of the intended victim for reasons I discuss in Chapter 18. 

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