State Rep. Margo Davidson


Davidson explains opposition to expanding 'Castle Doctrine'

HARRISBURG, April 13 State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, issued this statement about remarks she made Tuesday in the House of Representatives chamber:


"The 'Castle Doctrine' bill the House was debating centered on a serious matter whether Pennsylvania's self-defense law is strong enough to protect law-abiding citizens. I asked the bill's lead sponsor a series of hypothetical questions to test whether our self-defense law provides enough protection, since the bill's goal is to correct alleged deficiencies in Pennsylvania law. It was clearly understood in the House chamber that my questions were strictly hypothetical.


"The answers to my hypothetical questions showed that existing law already protects law-abiding citizens in the situations I described, and that we don't need to take out the moment of pause provided in current law by the duty to retreat in some situations.


"In one of my hypothetical questions, I used graphic language to illustrate the tragic results of violence. Taking a person's life is a horrific and disturbing thing that cannot be undone. I used this strong language to urge my colleagues to pause before creating a more violent society.


"I did not explain to my House colleagues another reason why I used the language I did. I am personally acquainted with the tragic results of violence. My brother was murdered. Someone broke into his home to rob him. He didn't have any money on him, and the criminal shot him in the chest at point-blank range. I sat in the courtroom during the trial, heard graphic descriptions of what that did to him, and saw graphic photos of his wounds. I would not wish that on anyone not another member of the House, not anyone.


"In the future, I may choose different language to illustrate how serious and final it is to take a person's life. While the language I used may be shocking, it was very clearly a hypothetical to illustrate that death is final and taking a life is violent. I'm against violence because of how horrific and tragic it is, and I don't think it's something we should be increasing in Pennsylvania. That is my point.


"One of the major commitments I made to my constituents was that I will work to protect public safety. I take that commitment very seriously. That's why I also held a public safety forum in my district in February that included the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, among numerous law enforcement officers and local officials. One of the key outcomes of that forum was the formation of a town watch for Upper Darby. I will continue working to make my district and Pennsylvania safer."