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June 20, 2011 | By | Posted in Legislature

‘Castle Doctrine’ bill passes state Senate, heads to governor


Bill allows residents to use deadly force when threatened outside of home
By Yasmin Tadjdeh | PA Independent
HARRISBURG — A bill allowing residents to use deadly force when threatened outside of their homes passed the state Senate on Monday and is headed to Gov. Tom Corbett for consideration.
“Law-abiding gun owners should not have to fear prosecution for acting to prevent a violent crime,” said state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-York, in a statement. “I am thankful that the General Assembly has taken action to protect responsible gun owners who respond when facing a serious threat from a criminal.”
House Bill 40 extends the “Castle Doctrine,” which allows people to use deadly force when an intruder or assailant enters their home, or “castle”, to porches decks, vehicles, parks, public areas and outside places when people feel that they, their family or others are being lethally threatened.
The bill, which both parties largely supported, was opposed by state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, who said the proposal is going in the wrong direction.
“We need to be in the business of trying to curtail gun violence, not to loosen the reins,” said Hughes, who voted against the bill.
The bill does not allow for deadly force if the threatening person is another resident of the house, a law enforcement officer or a parent, grandparent or guardian removing a child from the home or vehicle.
Furthermore, the use of deadly force in the bill would not apply if the person was using his house or vehicle for illegal activity, and the firearm used in self-defense must be legally purchased.
The Castle Doctrine bill passed the state House in April with a margin of 164-37. The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 45-5 on Monday. The Castle Doctrine expansion passed through the state House and Senate but was vetoed by former state Gov. Ed Rendell this past year.
Since the state Senate passed the bill without making any amendments, it will go directly to the governor’s office, where Corbett is expected to sign it into law, said Kevin Harley, Corbett’s press secretary.
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