Expansion Allows for Dangerous “Shoot First; Ask Questions Later” Approach

HARRISBURG—State Senator Larry Farnese today said that the expansion of the Castle Doctrine is wrong for Pennsylvania.  

Senator Farnese was one of five Senate members who voted ‘No’ on the bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 45 to 5 earlier this week. The bill is now on the governor’s desk for enactment.

“This is dangerous public policy,” Farnese said. “Expansion of the Castle Doctrine will strike the duty to retreat from current Castle Doctrine law and allow for a ‘shoot first; ask questions later’ approach to self-defense.”

The current law provides for a “stand-your-ground” right, which allows for self-defense when inside one’s dwelling.  The “stand-your-ground” position means that there is no duty to retreat when inside one’s own dwelling.

The new law expands the definition of dwelling to include areas outside one’s home, including cars and exterior property. 

“This is a defense attorney’s dream,” Farnese said. “I agree with prosecutors and police around the country who say that the Castle Doctrine expansion will make the streets more dangerous by allowing people to shoot whenever they feel threatened.”   

Officials from the National District Attorneys Association say there is no evidence that the new law will reduce crime, and some experts, including officials from Ceasefire PA, say this law can actually increase the number of shootings and put innocent bystanders, as well as police, in jeopardy.

“I do not support legislation that will allow lives to be in further danger,” Farnese said.  “Further, I do not support legislation that our own law enforcement officers do not support.”