I received this in an email from US Concealed carry. :x Burglars have rights too, says [British] Attorney General by By Melissa Kite and Andrew AldersonA fresh row broke out last night about the rights of householders to fight back against intruders after the Government's most senior lawyer defended the rights of burglars. Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, flew in the face of the Prime Minister's pledge to look again at the law with a view to giving homeowners more rights when he said that existing legislation was adequate. He said that criminals must also have the right to protection from violence, prompting David Davis, the shadow home secretary, to accuse the government of being dangerously split on the issue. Lord Goldsmith's intervention came as Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, dismissed fears that giving homeowners greater freedom when tackling burglars would lead to an "arms race" that would put them in greater danger. He denied that a change in the law, which currently gives homeowners the right to use "reasonable force" when tackling intruders, would encourage burglars to become more aggressive. In an interview with The Telegraph, Sir John - who last weekend came out in favour of the Right to Fight Back campaign, launched by this newspaper two months ago - said: "I am convinced that enabling householders to use whatever force is necessary will discourage burglars. "The fact that a would-be intruder knows a householder can respond without the fear of being prosecuted will undoubtedly deter criminal acts." Sir John, who will step down next month after five years as commissioner, said fellow police officers were confident that it would act as a deterrent. "We are on the ground," he said. "We smell it, we see it, we hear it. We know what we are talking about." Last week, Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he would look at strengthening the law and a Tory MP has introduced a private member's bill to do so. Lord Goldsmith, however, appeared to take issue with the Prime Minister's pledge to act. "We must protect victims and law abiding citizens," he said. "But we have to recognize that others have some rights as well. They don't lose all rights because they're engaged in criminal conduct." Mr Davis said: "They certainly do lose quite a lot of rights. The Government ought to make up its mind. The Prime Minister says one thing and the Attorney General says another. "Of course all human beings have rights, but when somebody enters your home to commit a crime they give up a large portion of them." Some critics of a change in the law have voiced concerns that burglars will feel they have to carry guns, knives and other weapons to protect themselves from householders. Sir John, however, did not see this as a problem. "I have confidence in the good judgment and common sense of the public in knowing how far they should go." He said that householders should be able to use whatever force is necessary even if - in exceptional circumstances - it involved killing the intruder. He spoke of his regret about the repercussions over the verdict on Tony Martin, the farmer who shot dead one burglar and seriously injured another during a break-in at his farm in August 1999. There was a public outcry when Martin was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison. The charge and sentence were later reduced to five years for manslaughter. Sir John did not suggest that the jury had reached the wrong verdict, but added: "The Tony Martin case is unfortunate because it has skewed the debate [on the public's right to protect their home]. But it is a fact that burglars have acted with greater confidence since the Tony Martin verdict and that has to be a matter of regret." Lord Goldsmith, however, warned of the dangers of using the Martin case to make bad law: "There are very few cases that have given rise to this problem. Besides Tony Martin, there's only one I know about. "It's always possible to extrapolate from one case and think that something is happening across the country when it isn't." Mr Blair's announcement of a review of the law came three days after the Conservative Party threw its weight behind a new parliamentary attempt to win more rights for householders to protect them from burglars. The Telegraph revealed last weekend how Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, would introduce a Private Member's Bill to change the law in favour of homeowners. In an article in this newspaper today, Mr Mercer described Mr Blair's promise to consult before taking action as a "classic delaying tactic". Michael Howard, the Tory leader, yesterday praised this newspaper's campaign. "I pay tribute to the highly effective campaign run over so many months by The Sunday Telegraph. It was the first newspaper to highlight this crucial issue and its persistence has been a key factor in winning this change to the law and in forcing Tony Blair's U-turn," he said. "We now need to ensure that Patrick Mercer's bill gets through parliament. The Sunday Telegraph's continued vigilance will be crucial in ensuring this."