Amendment to Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine — Stand Your Ground Bill

A home is someone's castle, and under most state laws a person can defend their home when faced with an intruder. If an unknown person is within the home, the resident has the right to shoot first, and ask questions later. But that's not the case in public places, and the state legislature in Pennsylvania wants to change the law there.

The proposed "Castle Doctrine" bill, if approved, would give a person the right to self defends without requiring that person to retreat to safety if possible. Under current law, an individual placed in a life-threatening situation in a public place - say a sidewalk or park - must step back before taking action in self defense, such as shooting a licensed gun.

Stand Your Ground Bill Would Allow Self-Defense Without Retreat

Under the proposed law, which was approved by the state Senate, an individual can immediately respond to an attack with lethal force without having to think twice.

Opponents say the "stand your ground" legislation, if signed into law, would create a new Wild West on the streets of Pennsylvania's cities and suburbs, with overzealous gun owners shooting at anyone that looks at them the wrong way. But proponents in this heavily pro-gun state say that the legislation gives anyone with a gun permit the opportunity to react immediately when faced with what they believe to be a lethal situation from an assailant.

The legislation has yet to gain the support of outgoing Governor Ed Rendell, who said he is still reviewing the bill and hopes to have a decision before his term ends. If Rendell fails to approve the legislation, the incoming Republican Governor-elect Tom Corbett and the newly elected Republican majority in the legislature are likely to approve the bill.

If you are facing gun-related criminal charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for help.