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Gov. Perry Signs Law Allowing Texans to Protect Themselves

Location: Austin, TX

SB 378 Permits Texans to Use Deadly Force in Self Defense

Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law Senate Bill 378, extending Texans' rights to use deadly force for means of self-defense, without retreat, in their home, vehicle or workplace. The law takes effect Sept. 1, 2007.

"The right to defend oneself from an imminent act of harm should not only be clearly defined in Texas law, but is intuitive to human nature," said Gov. Perry. "Today, I am proud to sign the Castle Law which allows Texans to not only protect themselves from criminals, but to receive the protection of state law when circumstances dictate that they use deadly force.

"I thank Senator Jeff Wentworth, Representative Joe Driver and the Texas Legislature for their dedication to ensuring Texans' rights to self-defense."

In 1995, the Texas Legislature created an exception to a 1973 statute, which required a person to retreat in the face of a criminal attack. The exception allowed a person to use force without retreat when an intruder unlawfully entered their home. Senate Bill 378 extends a person's right to stand their ground beyond the home to vehicles and workplaces, allowing the reasonable use of deadly force when an intruder is:

* Committing certain violent crimes, such as murder or sexual assault, or is attempting to commit such crimes;
* Unlawfully trying to enter a protected place; or
* Unlawfully trying to remove a person from a protected place.

The law also provides civil immunity for a person who lawfully uses deadly force in the above circumstances. The use of deadly force is not lawful when it is used to provoke or if a crime other than a Class C misdemeanor is committed by the victim.

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