Perry signs 'castle doctrine' deadly force bill
3/27/2007 12:17 PM
By: Associated Press
Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a bill Tuesday that gives Texans a stronger legal right to defend themselves with deadly force.
SB 378, which is backed by the National Rifle Association, states that no person has a duty to retreat from an intruder before using deadly force.
Perry was surrounded by lawmakers who pushed for the new law.
"The right to defend oneself from an imminent act of harm should not only be clearly defined in Texas law, but it is intuitive to human nature," he said.
Both chambers of the Legislature overwhelmingly approved the measure earlier this month.
In some cases, previous law imposed an obligation to retreat. In 1995, the Texas Legislature created an exception to a 1973 statute, which required a person to retreat in the face of a criminal attack. The exception allowed a person to use force without retreat when an intruder unlawfully entered their home.
But one of the bill's sponsors, Garland state Representative Joe Driver, says Texans' "first reaction needs to be to protect yourself and your family."
SB 378 extends a personís right to stand their ground beyond the home to vehicles and workplaces, allowing the reasonable use of deadly force when an intruder is
Committing certain violent crimes, such as murder or sexual assault, or is attempting to commit such crimes
Unlawfully trying to enter a protected place
Unlawfully trying to remove a person from a protected place
The law also provides civil immunity for a person who lawfully uses deadly force in the above circumstances. The use of deadly force is not lawful when it is used to provoke or if a crime other than a Class C misdemeanor is committed by the victim.
The bill has been dubbed the "Castle Doctrine," from the idea that a man's home is his castle and he has the right to defend it. Fifteen other states have passed similar laws.
It provides a legal right to deadly force against intruders to a home, vehicle or workplace.