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Boback Votes to Extend Rights of Law-Abiding Citizens

Rep. Karen Boback (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) voted in favor of legislation that would provide law-abiding citizens protection against civil liability for the lawful use of force in self defense. 

“A person faced with a physical threat should have the right to defend himself or herself without fear of civil reprisal,” said Boback.  “If you are being attacked and faced with a deadly threat in your home or vehicle, or in any place where you have a right to be for that matter, you should be able to use whatever means necessary to ensure the preservation of your life.” 

House Bill 40, known as the Castle Doctrine, would create the presumption that an attacker or intruder who is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering a dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle intends to do great bodily harm to the occupants, who would have a reasonable belief that the use of deadly force is necessary for protection.  The legislation also removes the duty to retreat for any law-abiding citizen who is attacked in any place where that individual has the right to be. 

Boback noted that she supported similar legislation last year, which made it to former Gov. Ed Rendell’s desk, but was vetoed. 

“There is wide support in my district for this measure,” said Boback.  “People are tired of laws that tend to favor the rights of criminals and thugs over the rights of victims.  This legislation would protect law-abiding citizens from being victimized twice – during the crime perpetrated against them and during any civil lawsuit brought against them for actions taken in self defense.  People should not be subjected to frivolous lawsuits for protecting themselves.” 

The legislation provides several exceptions to the use of deadly force if the person entering the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle is: 

  • Another resident of (or person who has the right to be in) the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle.
  • A parent, grandparent or other guardian removing a child from the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle.
  • A peace officer acting in the performance of his official duties and the actor using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a peace officer.  

House Bill 40 passed the House and will now go to the Senate for debate and consideration. 

State Representative Karen Boback
117th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Nicole Wamsley     

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