Wisconsin wasn’t the only place gun rights were expanding yesterday. The Pennsylvania Senate voted to broaden the state’s castle doctrine law beyond the moats and drawbridges. Pennsy gun owners now have the legal right to defend themselves anywhere they have a legal right to be. And they did it with a damned-near unanimous vote of 45-5. The House had passed the bill earlier and Governor Tom Corbett has promised to sign it…
The bill also removes the requirement that an individual try to retreat before using a gun to defend himself. It’s not always possible. Or safe. And turning your back on someone pointing a gun on you is generally frowned upon by self defense experts. Crazy, huh?
Shockingly, the usual Keystone State suspects (chiefs of police, big city mayors, gun-grabbers, yadda, yadda, yadda) wasted no time raising the specter of Dodge City-style shootouts when the law takes effect. “This is going to be dangerous for Pennsylvanians,” said Max Nacheman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, a gun-control group. “This creates more situations in which violence is an alternative.” Say it ain’t so.
Bucks County district attorney David Heckler employed a little more creativity, warning of criminals going free because of the rights expansion. “…I think in an urban environment, where there are lots of people carrying firearms on the street, it may well mean that some people who should be convicted of murder end up walking.”
Try not to snicker (much) when you read Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’s comment that, “this law is not necessary because current law respects and protects those lawfully exercising their right to self-defense.” Unless the Philly PD is involved, that is.
Like the progress made in Wisconsin yesterday, the Pennsylvania law was the result of years of effort. Former Governor Ed Rendell vetoed he same provision only last year despite bipartisan support. But the Governor’s office and a number of Assembly seats moved from the D to the R column last fall. Again, elections have consequences.