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Law-Abiding Citizens Given Greater Protection for Self-Defense, Pickett Says
6/28/2011

Castle Doctrine signed into law 

Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) commended the signing of legislation today that will give greater legal protection to law-abiding individuals who feel compelled to use self-defense in the face of an imminent attack. 

Gov. Tom Corbett signed House Bill 40, known as the Castle Doctrine, that allows residents to use self-defense without the fear of prosecution if they believe an intruder intends to cause them or their family serious harm in an attack. 

Under previous state law, a resident must retreat before using self-defense in his or her home. 

“This new law is common sense in that if a resident believes he or his family faces an imminent threat of death or serious injury, he should be able to use self-defense for protection,” Pickett said. “However, the resident still could have faced criminal prosecution. I am pleased this new law rightfully addresses this situation and puts the law back in the corner of law-abiding residents.” 

Under the new law, the presumption of an imminent threat will apply if an attacker or intruder intends to inflict bodily harm, and deadly force may be used to protect oneself, family and others while in their home or an occupied vehicle. That presumption also applies if a person is trying to unlawfully remove an occupant, against his or her will from a home or vehicle.  

Pickett pointed out that 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, this legislation would not apply if a person was using their home or vehicle to engage in criminal activity.  

This new version of the legislation also strengthens the penalties related to the trafficking of stolen guns.    

“When this bill passed the General Assembly both this session and last year, it received strong bipartisan support,” she said. “Although the bill was vetoed last session, I am pleased to see this year’s effort gaining even more support, which is leading to the latest legislation finally being enacted.” 

The legislation goes into full effect in 60 days. 

State Representative Tina Pickett
110th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Jennifer Keaton
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
717.705.2094
RepPickett.com
Facebook.com/RepPickett

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