City Council wants Pa. repeal of 'castle doctrine'

Posted: April 13, 2012

After the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin at the hands of a neighborhood-watch volunteer, City Council called Thursday for state lawmakers to repeal Pennsylvania's recently expanded "castle doctrine" law.

"We're asking the legislature to repeal that law because copycats are everywhere, and so they are going to test the theory of whether or not you can be the aggressor based on some trumped-up reason that you think you're threatened," said Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., who introduced the resolution, cosponsored by Council members Bill Greenlee and Marian Tasco.

Last year, Gov. Corbett approved an expanded version of Pennsylvania's castle doctrine that extended the use of deadly force, permitted to defend one's home, to other places, such as public streets. However, the alleged attacker must display a weapon, and the shooter cannot claim immunity for self-defense, as he can under Florida's law.

"I believe in the [Second] Amendment and the right to bear arms and all of that, but responsibly, and deadly force should be your last and only option, not your first preference," Jones said.

Meanwhile, Council approved a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown that called for justice in Martin's death and standing in solidarity and support of his family.

Martin's shooter, George Zimmerman, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Martin, 17, was unarmed when he was gunned down while walking through a gated Sanford, Fla., community in late February.


Contact Jan Ransom at 215-854-5218 or ransomj@phillynews.com.

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