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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: October 21, 2021 06:32 PM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Castle Doctrine Expansion
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to expand Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine to provide citizens with the ability to better protect themselves, their family and their property.
Our Commonwealth has a long history of affirming the rights of its citizens.  While the United States Constitution acknowledges the rights of Americans to bear arms, our Constitution more strongly recognizes this right in Article I Section 21, which reads, “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures defines castle doctrine as a principle stating that “individuals have the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home.”  Pennsylvania upholds this notion in Pa.C.S. 18 § 505.   
This statute was last updated in 2011 to extend the principles of castle doctrine to extend the right of self-defense in places where the actor has the right to be if they believe themselves to be in danger of death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping, or rape. 
My legislation would extend the self-defense protections afforded by castle doctrine beyond an individual’s dwelling to their property line.  The right to defend oneself should not be limited based on whether individuals are inside their dwelling or on their property.    
I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to further protect the constitutional right of Pennsylvanians to protect themselves.  If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Jake Gery in my office at jgery@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB943