House Passes Castle Doctrine

The state House has approved legislation reinforcing a person’s right to defend himself or herself in the face of an intruder, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) said today.

House Bill 40, also known as the Castle Doctrine, passed by a vote of 164-37.

“Under current law, a person under attack has a duty to retreat before taking action in self-defense – that simply does not make sense,” Causer said. “This change in law protects the rights of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.”

The measure creates a presumption in law that an attacker or intruder intends to do great bodily harm and therefore force, including deadly force, may be used to protect oneself, one’s family and others in the face of an attack while at home or in an occupied vehicle. The presumption also applies if a person is trying to unlawfully remove an occupant, against the occupant’s will, from a home or vehicle.

The presumption would not apply if the person entering a home was:

  • Another resident of the home.
  • A law enforcement officer.
  • A parent, grandparent or other guardian removing a child from the home or vehicle.

In addition, the presumption would not apply if a person was using their home or vehicle to further criminal activity. The bill also offers specific protection against civil liability for the lawful use of force in self-defense.

The legislation passed the House and Senate last session but was vetoed by Gov. Ed Rendell last year.


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