Castle Doctrine Bill on Governor’s Desk, Tobash Says

Working to ensure a person’s right to self-defense, legislation known as the “Castle Doctrine” is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature, Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks) said today. 

The measure was first passed by lawmakers last fall, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Ed Rendell.

Gov. Tom Corbett has indicated his support for the measure and is expected to sign it into law. 

“This action is long overdue,” Tobash said. “Currently, a person who is under attack in his or her own home or vehicle has a duty to retreat before taking action to defend himself or herself. That just doesn’t make sense.” 

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 or in an occupied vehicle. The presumption also applies if a person is trying to unlawfully remove an occupant, against the occupant’s will, from a home or vehicle.  

The presumption would not apply if the person entering a home was another resident of the home, a law enforcement officer, or a parent, grandparent or other guardian removing a child from the home or vehicle. In addition, the presumption would not apply if a person was using their home or vehicle to further criminal activity.  

The bill also offers specific protection against civil liability for the lawful use of force in self-defense.  

The law will take effect 60 days after being signed by the governor. 

State Representative Mike Tobash
125th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Patricia Hippler