FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Ted Harhai
Castle Doctrine ready to go into effect
HARRISBURG, June 29 – State Rep. Ted Harhai, D-Fayette/Westmoreland, today said Pennsylvania's new Castle Doctrine Law will go into effect in late August now that it has the governor's signature.
Harhai, who voted for the measure, has been a long-time advocate of expanding an individual's right to use deadly force to protect themselves or loved ones from violent attack.
Current law allows use of deadly force only when one cannot retreat or find a safe place when threatened with danger inside their home. The Castle Doctrine Law (Act 10 of 2011) removes a person's duty to attempt to back away from danger before resorting to deadly force, allowing them to stand their ground so long as they do not provoke the attacker. It also expands the area of allowable deadly force in self-defense to include a home's porch, deck or patio.
In addition, the new law grants civil immunity for their actions when people can justify the need to protect themselves against a perpetrator threatening them with death, serious bodily injury, rape or kidnapping.
Harhai emphasized that the Castle Doctrine does not apply to the use of deadly force against police officers or other public safety officials in the performance of their duty.
"It has taken us several years to work out aspects of the Castle Doctrine that were obstacles to getting it enacted in previous sessions," said Harhai. "But in this session, there was exemplary bipartisan give-and-take that took out the remaining hurdles. The result was that both the House and Senate sent it to the governor with proof of overwhelming support, of which I was a part."