Austin, TX – Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would require homeowners to “retreat” before using deadly force in certain situations. Under Texas’ “castle doctrine,” citizens have the right to use deadly force to defend their “land or tangible, movable property,” KPRC reported.
Article originally published at The Police Tribune.
House Bill 196, filed by Rep. Terry Meza (D-Irving) earlier this month, would require homeowners to be “unable to safely retreat” before they could legally use deadly force against a perpetrator. Property owners would also no longer be able to use deadly force to stop aggravated robbery or robbery crimes under the bill, according to KPRC.
“A person who is in the person’s own habitation, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force,” according to the proposed legislation.
Critics have accused Meza of trying to repeal the state’s “castle doctrine” by forcing people to surrender their property and flee before resorting deadly force. But Meza said she is just trying to stop people from being so quick to shoot criminals on their property.
“My bill HB 196 and my position on the Texas Castle Doctrine has been misrepresented in the news as of late,” she lamented in a series of tweets on Nov. 19. “It does not repeal the Castle Doctrine, and it does not restrict homeowners from using firearms in self-defense as applicable to current Texas stand your ground laws.”
Meza said her bill “would require a homeowner to exhaust the potential of safely retreating” into their own home before they could legally use “deadly force in defense of themselves or their property.”
She explained she filed the bill because the current “castle doctrine…emboldens people to take justice into their own hands.”
“While theft is obviously wrong, we have laws to address that,” Meza reasoned. “I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he has no intention of backing the bill.
“Let me be clear,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “The Castile Doctrine will not be reduced. We won’t force Texas homeowners to retreat. Especially with the crazy ‘defund police’ ideas, homeowners need to protect themselves now more than ever.”
“We will protect 2nd Amendment rights,” Abbott wrote.
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