State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, said the expanded Castle Doctrine Law signed by Gov. Tom Corbett is the culmination of years of patience and bipartisan cooperation to work out the last obstacles to its enactment.
Mr. Readshaw has been a long-time proponent of expanding the right of a person to use deadly force to protect themselves and their family. Current law restricted the use of deadly force in defense to only inside one's residence and only if they are unable to retreat or get to a safe place.
The new law (Act 10) extends the right to use deadly force to a person's car, porch or anywhere he has the legal right to be, and provided he did not provoke the attacker. It also grants immunity in civil cases when a person justifies the need to protect himself against someone threatening him with death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or rape.
The law specifies that a person using deadly force cannot be engaged in criminal activity and cannot use deadly force against police or other public safety officers in the performance of their duty. They must also be in legal possession of the weapon.
"Law-abiding citizens must have the absolute right to protect themselves and their families from a violent attack and it is plain common sense that a dangerous attacker should not have a legal advantage over a citizen following the laws of our society," said Rep. Readshaw. "This law ensures that right in Pennsylvania."
The new Castle Doctrine Law will take effect in late August.