The Truth About the Texas Castle Doctrine

cotton-bustJessie Jackson, Rep. Al Green, Al Shaprton and others are using the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida to call for the repeal of all so-called “stand your ground” laws around the country.  Jessie Jackson was in Houston on April 12th calling for repeal of the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Jackson erroneously claims such laws promote “vigilantism.”  Jessie Jackson, Al Green and other self-appointed black leaders either do not know what the so-called Texas “Castle Doctrine” requires, or they know the truth and are lying to the public.

It is hard to determine what is at the center of complaints by Jackson and Green, as they never manage to state precisely what offends them about the Texas “Castle Doctrine.”  Based upon numerous statements made around the country, it appears that the repeal of the retreat duty is what Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others want to accomplish.  However, they argue that the lack of a retreat duty means people can used deadly force “anytime they feel threatened.”  Undoubtedly, they got this misinformation from the Brady Campaign to [Ban all Guns and Render Everyone Defenseless].

Let us brush aside the lies and rhetoric and look at the history of the retreat duty in Texas, as well as the actual provisions of the Texas version of the “Castle Doctrine.”  Prior to 1977, Texas was a “True Man State” meaning there was no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, but only if the use of  deadly force was  justified under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  In 1977, the Texas Legislature amended the Penal Code to require a person to retreat before using deadly force, even in their own home!  This was the law until 1995 when the duty to retreat inside your home was repealed.  When SB378 passed in 2007, the retreat duty was repealed, but with safeguards.  There is no duty to retreat before using legally justified deadly force only if 1) the person is legally present at the location where they used deadly force; 2) the person did not provoke the person against whom deadly force was used; and 3) the person using deadly force was not engage in illegal conduct at the time they used deadly force.  (See Tex. Penal code §9.32(c))

As noted earlier, repeal of the retreat duty does not change or diminish the long-standing requirements to use deadly force found throughout Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.  The logic for repealing the retreat duty is sound and it was necessary to allow innocent people to defend themselves without fear of prosecution.  Prior to 2007, even if a person “reasonably believed deadly force was immediately necessary to prevent the other person’s use of unlawful deadly force” against them, they still had to try to get away before defending himself or herself.  If they got killed trying to escape, well too bad.  That was an absurd legal requirement that valued the life of a criminal more than the life of their intended victim.

Jackson, Green, Sharpton and others are siding with violent criminals by calling for a return to the days when innocent people had to risk their lives before defending themselves against violent attacks.  Once again Jessie Jackson, Al Green and Al Sharpton are trying to raise money and get some free air time by sprinkling themselves with Trayvon’s blood and lying about so-called “stand your ground” statutes.  Unfortunately, their despicable actions are not a surprise.  This has been their game plan for many years.

Are Texas CHL's Really That Good?

cotton-bustThe short answer to the question is a resounding “YES!”  We really are that good and this article sets out the proof.  But first, here is  a short history lesson.

Let us turn the clock back about twenty five years when the idea of passing legislation that would allow law-abiding Texans to carry handguns for self-defense was an idea that was still in its infancy.  Supporters of what we now call a Texas Concealed Handgun License, or simply CHL for short, were thought to be few in number and we were dismissed an “just more gun nuts.”  To say those were frustrating times would be an understatement, but supporters pressed on.  The campaign took on a new persona when newly elected State Senator Jerry Patterson (now Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson) filed a CHL bill in the 1993 Texas Legislative Session.

When it became obvious then-Governor Ann Richards was doing everything in her power to keep the bill from passing and veto it if it did pass, the bill was amended to simply allow Texans to vote in a non-binding referendum to see if we wanted the right-to-carry in Texas.  This amendment was designed to force Governor Richards to show her true colors and deny Texans even the opportunity to express their opinion by voting on the issue.  Richards vetoed the bill, lost her bid for reelection and the rest is history.  George W. Bush was elected Governor, Senator Patterson’s SB60 passed in 1995 and for the first time in over 120 years, Texans were allowed to carry handguns for self-defense.