Houston Lawmaker Wants to Repeal Castle Doctrine
March 28, 2012
by: Laurie Johnson
The law has always allowed citizens to defend themselves if they are threatened with death or grievous bodily injury.
But in 2007, the Texas legislature expanded the Castle Doctrine, after aggressive lobbying by the National Rifle Association, so that it applies to people when they are in a vehicle, workplace or business and it says they are not required to try to run away before resorting to deadly force.
State Representative Garnet Coleman says he voted against it.
"The concept of shoot first and ask questions later...basically under the old law if somebody was in your house that applied. The question is, do we want that in any place and everywhere and with only a presumption that someone's about to hurt you?"
For Coleman, the answer is no. He says the Castle Doctrine should go back to its original language or be re-written altogether.
"Modify the language in such a way that it does not give carte blanche. And so I don't know exactly what that is, the first thing I'd really rather do is just repeal it, the whole thing. But I'm one of these folks that I believe there are ways to find answers that are acceptable to all parties. But this isn't acceptable to me and my constituents."
Coleman says when the legislature removed the duty to retreat, they increased the likelihood of killing someone presumed to be dangerous without any real evidence or justification. Coleman says he will file legislation in next year's session to amend the law.
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