TEXAS — If you’ve resided in Texas long enough, you’re probably familiar with the state’s Castle Doctrine, its version of a Stand Your Ground law.

Essentially it means that in the right circumstances someone can use deadly force when defending his or her residence.

Texas law permits someone to claim self-defense at trial when deadly force was used in the following circumstances:

  • Reasonably believed the deadly force was immediately necessary;
  • Had a legal right to be on the property;
  • Did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used; and
  • Was not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force was used.

Nowhere above does it stipulate that a person who uses deadly force in order to protect his or her home must attempt to retreat first. However, that could change if HB 196 were to pass during the upcoming legislative session.

According to the bill’s author, state Rep. Terry Meza, it would “require a homeowner to exhaust the potential of safely retreating into their habitation before deadly force in defense of themselves or their property.”

Meza stated that as it stands the law emboldens people to “take justice into their own hands.”

“I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death,” she wrote.

Retweeting Meza, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stated the Castel Doctrine won’t be weakened and that as cities “defund the police” it’s more important than ever for Texans to protect themselves and their homes.

“Let me be clear. The Castle Doctrine will not be reduced,” Abbott wrote. “We won’t force Texas homeowners to retreat. Especially with the crazy ‘defund police’ ideas, homeowners need to protect themselves now more than ever. We will protect 2nd Amendment rights.”