By Kelly Young
Texans can breath a little easier after the Tuesday passage of a bill that allows residents to defend themselves in their homes, vehicles and businesses.
Texas becomes the 16th state, and the first in 2007, to pass the Castle Doctrine into law.
Its origins in English law, the Castle Doctrine states that if a criminal breaks into your occupied home, vehicle or place of business, you may use any force against the suspect that is needed – and does not require the victim to retreat before resorting to force.
Before the Castle Doctrine was passed, Texas citizens were required to attempt to flee before using force.
“This is something we in the legislature have been working on for a long time,” Rep. Chuck Hopson said.
“The law wasn’t real clear regarding what a victim’s rights are in the case of a home invasion and this clarifies it. This makes the law more protective of our homeowners, and I think it is a real good law.”
Support for the doctrine has been overwhelming since Sen. Jeff Wentworth (Senate District 25) and Rep. Joe Driver (House District 113) filed bills to enact the doctrine here in Texas. Wentworth’s bill (SB378) had 27 co-authors, while Driver’s bill (HB284) garnered 106 co-authors.
“The passage of the Castle Doctrine bill is a victory for law-abiding Texans,” State Senator Robert Nichols said.
“This law will help to guarantee citizens the right to protect themselves, their home and their family. I was proud to be a co-author of the bill, and thank Sen. Wentworth for authoring this important piece of legislation.”
The National Rifle Association issued this statement regarding the news.
“I want to thank the Texas Legislature for working together to pass this vital legislation and take further steps in protecting the people of this great state,” said Chris Cox, chief NRA lobbyist. “Law-abiding citizens now have the choice to defend themselves and their families in the face of attack knowing their decision will not be second-guessed by the state of Texas. The Castle Doctrine bill is about putting the law back on the side of the victim, the way it’s supposed to be.”
Both Hopson and Nichols co-authored their respective Castle Doctrine bills.