Your Home is Your Castle and You Have a Right to Defend it

Her home is her castle

Since a young Oklahoma widow shot and killed a home intruder on New Year’s Eve 2010, the Castle Doctrine law has been making the national news. In the last few weeks, there has been a bigger push for states that do not have a Castle Doctrine law enacted to start one and even extend Castle Doctrine laws for states that have a form of the self-defense law. Most recently was Virginia’s House Bill 48 that passed the Senate on Friday, February 3, 2012 on a 12 to 6 vote and now will move to the Senate. Castle Doctrine law is the 1985 “Make My Day Law” in Colorado, which extended Colorado’s Castle Doctrine law to grant immunity to the victim who must use lethal force.

Another landmark case of the passing of a Castle Doctrine law was Florida in October of 2005 called the “Personal Protection Bill” which extended the rights of citizens to protect themselves with deadly force not only in the home, but also to vehicles, places of business, and anywhere else someone legally has a right to be. The “Personal Protection Bill” also grants Floridians immunity against civil lawsuits or charges in cases of lethal self-defense.

In some states you still have to try and escape
In some states you still have to try and escape.

Originating from Old English Law, the Castle Doctrine and forms thereof give you the right to protect yourself in your home from threat. The Castle Doctrine is not a federally mandated law; no one yet has proven in a court of law that the Second Amendment extends that right. Each individual state must adopt its own Castle Doctrine laws.

In general, Castle Doctrine means that to use lawful deadly force, you must feel threatened by an intruder who has entered your home illegally and intends to do you harm or commit a felony. Some states have extensive Castle Doctrine laws, while others have stringent ones; meaning some states require you, by law, to attempt to retreat before using lethal force against a threat.

Currently, 25 states have passed the NRA-model of the Castle Doctrine, with several others having a form of the law. This year, many more states are pushing to enact or extend Castle Doctrine laws.

Her home is her castle
Her home is her castle.

The Colorado House committee passed a bill, called “Make My Day Better” on February 2, 2012 extending their “Make My Day Law” to the workplace. Massachusetts was set to hear Bill S. 661 on February 7, 2012. Minnesota introduced the Defense of Dwelling & Person Act HF1467/SF1357. The bill was approved last year in the house and on February 9, 2012, it passed through the Senate Finance Committee with a 10 to five vote. It will now go to the full Senate. Governor Mark Dayton has not made a statement on whether or not he will sign the bill or veto it.

Nebraska had a hearing on LB804 on January 31, 2012. No news on an update has been found for these proposed bills as of this posting. North Carolina successfully extended their Castle Doctrine law early January to include vehicles and places of work. Unfortunately, both Oregon and Washington’s purposed bills have stalled.

Does your state have a Castle Doctrine? Why do you think the passing of the Castle Doctrine is so important?

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Comments (10)

  1. Mississippi ahs a castle law that encompases not only our home but it includes our yards and any land we may own. It also covers our vehicles. to top that off we also have a “Kill the carjacker” law, which is jsut as it says. if some scumbag is attempting to carjack you then shoot to kill.

  2. The best book to buy regarding gun laws in Florida is: Florida Firearms law, use & ownership sixth edition by Jon H. Gutmacher. If you live in Florida you MUST read this book. Know your rights & know the law in the state you live in.

  3. Maine’s castle law, revised in 2007, allows for the use of deadly force in defense of person and property when it is believed that it is necessary to prevent a criminal from committing a crime on one’s property or inside their home. Maine does not have a duty to retreat. However, deadly force is justified only after the victim has warned the intruder and given him an opportunity to leave the home or property.

  4. ANTWHERE= ANYWHERE! Oklahoma also has two / 2 open carry with permit laws under consideration. And, a law allowing business owners to use deadly force against a person who enters a business legally.. but with the intent to inflict serious injury or death. Like a guy walks in legitimately as a customer.. then pulls a gun or knife to attack his wife / girlfriend working at the business or to commit a robbery.

  5. In Oklahoma, under its ‘Castle Law’..The bad guy[s] just have to break into or force their way into your house for you to be able to use deadly force.. it is assumed that by their action they intend serious injury or death.

    Oklahoma also has a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, in that you have a right to defend yourself ANTWHERE you have alegal right to be.. in your home, car, business, park…you don’t have to run and hide like a coward.

    Right now, the legislature is contemplating expanding non-permit holders rights of self defense.. by extending the castle law to their vehicles… allowing non-permit holders to carry loaded guns in open view in their vehicle

  6. When seconds count, the sheriff is 1 hour and 45 minutes away. I don’t carry a physically large pistol, but it is a 357 Magnum with HydraShok ammo.

    I wanted to have a collapsable baton handy but some sales places say that selling one of those to people in cerrtain states, maybe be against the law. We are talking Ohio not California. So I bought one from some other company.

    Also I have a 870 handy.


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