Cutler Casts Vote for Self-Protection Rights

Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) today voted in support of House Bill 40, which would extend a person’s right to self-defense, including the use of deadly force, to an individual’s home, car or any other place he or she has the right to be. 

“For too long our laws have considered the interests of criminals to the detriment of Pennsylvania’s law-abiding citizens,” said Cutler.  “Self defense is a basic and instinctive right, and a person should not be held liable for taking action to preserve the life and safety of his or her self or family when faced with a grave threat.” 

House Bill 40, known as the Castle Doctrine, would create the presumption that an attacker or intruder who is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering a dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle intends to do great bodily harm to the occupants, who would have a reasonable belief that the use of deadly force is necessary.  The legislation also removes the duty to retreat for any law-abiding citizen who is attacked in any place where that individual has the right to be. 

The legislation provides several exceptions to the use of deadly force if the person entering the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle is: 

  • Another resident of (or person who has the right to be in) the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle.
  • A parent, grandparent or other guardian removing a child from the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle.
  • A peace officer acting in the performance of his official duties and the actor using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a peace officer.  

The General Assembly approved similar legislation last session, but Gov. Ed Rendell vetoed the measure.  House Bill 40 will now go to the Senate for its consideration. 

State Representative Bryan Cutler
100th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Nicole Wamsley

Share |