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New self defense bill raises Pa. gun control worries

Friday, October 15th, 2010



A Pennsylvania gun control group is urging Governor Rendell to veto a bill that would expand a person’s right to use deadly force in cases of self defense.

The “castle doctrine” bill removes the duty to retreat from Pennsylvania law, allowing people to defend themselves with deadly force when attacked.

The Senate and House have both passed the measure on bipartisan votes, though the House needs to concur on the bill before it goes to Governor Rendell’s desk. Noting that the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association and other law enforcement groups oppose the measure, Joe Grace of CeaseFirePA is asking Rendell to veto the bill.

“The governor, as a former prosecutor, an eight-year district attorney of the state’s biggest city – we think the governor understands the dangers of this policy, the recklessness of this policy,” Grace says. “And we believe and hope and call on the governor, with the state’s law enforcement community, to veto this bill.”

Rendell’s spokesman says the governor hasn’t decided whether to sign or veto the bill.

The DA’s Association warns the legislation makes it much more difficult to try murder suspects, and creates a “shoot first mentality” on city streets.


12 Comments

  • Jim says:

    These morons live in good neighborhoods with their burglar alarms and security cameras. If they lived in my town, they would be easy prey because they want to protect the burglar or thief.

  • LEONARD says:

    ITS aways the ones that never lost a loved one from break in that complains.The poor criminals dont do anything to discourage them from breaking in to peoples houses they wont have a job anymore. you leftwing jerks.

  • Larry says:

    Do people just make this stuff up as they go along? How would this make it more difficult to try murder suspects?

  • Carl from Chicago says:

    In what other states with the “Castle Doctrine” has this been a problem?

    Zero.

  • Washington State Resident says:

    If it will help, I am a resident of Washington State, where our laws:

    1. Provide for U.S. citizens with no disqualifying criminal or mental health issues to obtain a permit to carry concealed weapons upon request. These cost $60 and must be renewed every 5 years.

    2. Embody the “castle doctrine” which allows you to defend yourself if threatened, either in your home or anywhere else you may happen to be lawfully. You have no obligation to retreat from the threat before defending yourself or others under threat.

    3. In the event you take a life and are criminally charged, if you plead self defense and a jury acquits you on that basis, the prosecuting attorney is obliged to bear the costs of your defense.

    Many of us carry concealed weapons on a daily basis. We have had no problems with these facets of our law. Gunfights do not break out over fender benders, contested parking spaces or other minor disputes.

    Shootings almost all involve criminals shooting other criminals, with no permit holders involved.

    I carry a weapon almost all the time I’m out and about, just like I carry insurance. I hope I never need to use either, but prudent people like to be prepared.

    .

    • Bill says:

      How’s WA state’s posting supposed “to help” except to make us envious. Should we move to WA?
      Lucky folks those Washingtonians.

  • Pete MacMahon says:

    BTW, this is not the full text of the report I heard on the radio. The person they interviewed made a completely erroneous comment that went something like this “.. the bill removes the duty to retreat …which is not the case in PA anyway………” That is absolute bunk! As PA law stands now, if a person broke into your house and told you “a..hey, sorry, I’m just here to steal your valuables but I mean you no personal harm.” You are duty bound just to call the police and let him go. Don’t believe me, look it up.

    • Peter J. says:

      Whether or not you have a duty to retreat in the face of a threat, it doesn’t change the fact that using lethal force to do anything other than neutralize a threat of lethal force is ill-advised.

      If you shoot someone simply because they’re making off with your TV…you’re going to have some ‘splaining to do. And it’s going to be unpleasant.

  • Pete MacMahon says:

    Where the balanced reporting?! Just one sided biased coverage. This is the last straw for me. I will, from now on, tune to the Harrisburg public radio station for my news and for NPR.

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    I can understand why criminals would oppose this legislation. It has worked very well for honest citizens in other states. It hasn’t worked well for some criminals.
    .
    If someone breaks into your home, you have reason to fear for your life and lives of your loved ones. Running out the back door would only add to the danger. You would be leaving the relative safety of your home. You wouldn’t know what might be waiting for you outside if the state requires that you flee.
    .
    We have a natural right to protect ourselves, our families, and our property. It isn’t the function of the state to protect criminals from harm while they are committing criminal acts.
    .
    Criminals who don’t attack honest citizens don’t have to worry about the castle doctrine.

  • Jay Hanig says:

    All one has to do is look at the record of any other state which has the Castle Doctrine to know “the sky will fall; the sky will fall” rhetoric is just so much BS. Is there something unique about the citizens of Pennslyvania which makes them more violent than those of other states?

    If this were such a dangerous proposition, other states would be repealing it. I don’t know of anywhere that it hasn’t been a success.

    The governor should sign the bill. It’s past time the criminals had all the advantage.

  • Rural says:

    You’d think the gun-control folks could come up with something new, but I guess not. It’s the same old rhetoric. Anyone who opposes a castle doctrine law must be on the side of the criminals.

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