Corbett Will Sign Castle Doctrine

Brad Bumsted
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Without debate, the state Senate today approved a bill expanding self-defense rights and sent it to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature.

Corbett will sign the bill, said his spokesman Kevin Harley.

By a 45-5 vote, the Senate approved an expansion of the so-called Castle Doctrine.

Under current law, a person can use deadly force — without retreat — in his or her home. Outside the home, using lethal force to defend oneself requires first taking steps away from an assailant. The bill approved today allows someone to shoot an attacker without retreat outside the home — anywhere a person is legally allowed to be.

Supporters called it “stand your ground” legislation. Critics call it “shoot first” legislation.

During a lengthy House debate in April, opponents claimed the bill if enacted would create a “Wild West” mentality in Pennsylvania. But those voting for the bill said it sends a message to criminals that people will no longer be fearful of lawsuits or prosecution if they act when their lives are at risk.

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