Sonney Hails Passage of ‘Castle Doctrine’ Self-Defense Measure

The state House has approved legislation clarifying a person’s right to immediately defend himself or herself in the face of an intruder carrying a deadly weapon, said Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Harborcreek). 

“Under current law, a victim of a home invasion, for example, has a duty to retreat first before using force to defend oneself,” Sonney said. “It goes against your survival instincts – not to mention common sense – to turn your back on someone wielding a weapon. This law would change that.” 

Modeled after a similar bill enacted in the state of Florida, the “Castle Doctrine,” House Bill 40, creates in law a presumption that an attacker or intruder intends to do great bodily harm and therefore force, including deadly force, may be used to protect oneself, one’s family and others in the face of an attack while at home, in an occupied vehicle or in any other place the individual has a right to be. 

Exceptions to that presumption apply if the person entering the home is another resident of the home, a law enforcement officer, or a parent or guardian removing a child from the home or vehicle.   

The bill also provides civil immunity to ensure a victim does not become victimized again in a frivolous lawsuit by the intruder. 

House Bill 40 passed by a vote of 159-38 and now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

Rep. Curt Sonney
4th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(717) 783-9087
(814) 664-9126
Contact:  Patricia A. Hippler
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 772-9846

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