What is the Castle Doctrine?
Castle doctrine, also know as “castle law,” is considered by firearms proponents to be an important part of protecting yourself, your family, and your home.
Alongside stand-you-ground and shall-issue laws, castle doctrine is considered one of the most important legal tenants for protecting someone’s rights to personal defense, and it’s an issue that all gun owners, regardless of where they live, should understand.
Castle Doctrine Explained
According the the Cornell Law School, castle doctrine is an exception to laws that require someone to retreat before they can legally use deadly force in a self-defense situation. Essentially, castle doctrine, when enacted, says that when in your home, you can defend yourself, with deadly force if necessary, without being legally required to retreat.
Without the castle doctrine, homeowners have a duty to retreat before they can legally defend themselves. In the aftermath of a violent incident, this can create significant legal complications, because, in order to not be legally accountable for a death, the resident must prove they tried to retreat before they took violent action.
Castle doctrine generally applies to the interior of the home, and not the exterior property. For example, someone who shot a trespasser on the yard would not be able to apply the castle doctrine in their legal defense, or at the very least, would have an extremely difficult task doing so.
The arguments against castle-doctrine laws are similar to the arguments against stand-your-ground. It’s believed by firearms opponents that these laws encourage a shoot-first mentality, and could lead to a death in a situation where there was no initial threat.
These laws vary by state, so be sure that you fully understand castle doctrine in your area. And as always, maintain safe, responsible use of your firearms at all times.