Blunt signs "Castle Doctrine" bill in Cape

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gov. Matt Blunt signed legislation Tuesday at Arena Park strengthening the right to bear arms for Missourians and making it easier for them to legally guard their home from intruders.

The legislation, commonly referred to as the "Castle Doctrine," removes the requirement of someone to retreat, or step back when defending their "castle," or residence, against an attack, burglary, or arson, before using their deadly force.

A 1902 Missouri Supreme Court decision removed that obligation for practical purposes, but the bill signed Tuesday also extends legal protection to someone who is attacked in their car to use the same deadly force with a firearm, if they feel their life is threatened.

"Americans maintain a deep reverence for their Second Amendment rights. This legislation is an extension of those rights," Blunt said before a small gathering of NRA members at the news conference.

The bill, the governor said, ensures that law-abiding citizens won't be punished when they use force to defend themselves and their loved ones from attacks in their own home or vehicle.

"Clearly, it's made a change in our legal system -- it makes it easier for Missourians to defend their homes," Gov. Blunt said.

State Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, also there in support of the legislation, addressed his appreciation of the bill that would bring a "safer community and a safer Missouri."

Ron Hillis, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., who turned 45 today, considered the signing of the bill to be his birthday present from the governor. "I'm excited about the fact that people have a right to protect themselves without worrying about legalities-you can stand and fight," said Hillis.

For more information, check back at www.semissourian.com or read Thursday's Southeast Missourian.

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