Monday, November 29, 2010

Rendell Vetoes Castle Doctrine Bill

Governor Ed Rendell vetoed Pennsylvania's Castle Doctrine law that would have expanded the rights of gun owners to defend themselves. The bill expands gun owners' rights by removing retreat requirement. The governor said it encourages violence.

"If we can protect the sanctity of life we should," Rendell told the Associated Press. "We should not have a basically 'shoot first' mentality."

"The expansion of the Castle Doctrine is a solution in search of a problem," Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico told the Associated Press. "People can defend themselves in their own homes, people can defend themselves on the streets."

Marsico supported the governor's veto and opposed the bill. "Where are the law-abiding citizens who are getting prosecuted by the police and district attorneys in Pennsylvania for acting in self defense?" Marsico told Associated Press. "It's not happening."

Marsico worries that an expanded Castle Doctrine will give bad guys a legal loophole to shoot people and get away with it.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Rendell criticized the bill as a dangerous solution to a nonexistent problem that would encourage a "shoot first, ask questions later" mentality.

"I do not believe that in a civilized society we should encourage violent and deadly confrontation when the victim can safely protect themselves" through retreat, Mr. Rendell wrote in his veto message. "As keepers of the public trust, we have the solemn duty to protect our citizenry, not put them in harm's way, and to protect the sanctity of human life."

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