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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2014 12:10 PM
From: Representative Rick Saccone
To: All House members
Subject: Disparity of Force Legislation, former HB 1860 of 2011 Session
An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for use of force in self-protection.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly made a great stride forward in not only protecting the citizens of Pennsylvania, but allowing them to protect themselves, with the passage of the Castle Doctrine. However, our mission to enable Pennsylvanians to protect and defend themselves is not over. In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will increase the effectiveness of the Castle Doctrine.

My legislation will strengthen the language to the Castle Doctrine, adding the concept of “disparity of force”. Currently, to be protected by the Castle Doctrine concept, the law requires that an attacker must display a "firearm or any other weapon readily or apparently capable of lethal use” before an individual can use lethal force. In cases where an individual or group of assailants place another individual in a life threatening situation without being in possession of lethal weapons, we must enable these people to take the proper actions in order to prevent themselves from becoming victims. This legislation will provide Castle Doctrine protections to allow the use of lethal force in cases where an individual possesses the physical power, stature, or ability to inflict serious harm or death upon another person or in a case where the individuals using the force outnumber the victim such as he or she may fear serious bodily harm of death.

It is easy to recognize that the size and number of attackers are critical variables in inflicting serious bodily injury. The disparity of force from group and gang attacks on citizens using only kicking and punching can be just as lethal as attacks with weapons especially to the elderly.

I urge you to cosponsor this legislation to increase the effectiveness of the Castle Doctrine. The citizens of Pennsylvania have a natural right to defend themselves and we must ensure that they are not unreasonable hindered for doing so.

Introduced as HB45