State House OKs Bill Enhancing Right of Self Defense, Causer Says

Castle Doctrine would allow property owners to use deadly force

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

“The right to self protection is a cornerstone of our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” Causer said. “A person under attack in his own home should not have to retreat or try to guess what the intruder’s intentions may be before he or she can take action.

Also known as the “Castle Doctrine,” House Bill 40 creates in law a presumption 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.

“This legislation does not endorse unlawful aggression but instead provides individuals with the necessary legal protection to respond to unlawful aggression,” Causer said.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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