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Proposed Texas bill requires gun owners ‘retreat’ before using deadly force

A concealed carry holster. (Alian Gear Holster/WikiMedia)
December 11, 2020

Texas homeowners could be required to “retreat” prior to using deadly force in specific circumstances, according to a bill being considered by lawmakers in the Lone Star State.

Texas law known as the “castle doctrine” states that citizens have the right to employ deadly force in defense of their “land or tangible, movable property,” but House Bill 196 would only allow homeowners to use deadly force against an assailant if they are “unable to safely retreat.”

Under the bill, filed by Democrat Representative Terry Meza, property owners would be restricted from using deadly force in order to impede aggravated robbery or other robbery crimes.

“A person who is in the person’s own habitation, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force,” the proposed legislation stated.

The bill has faced harsh criticism from a number of top lawmakers who alleged Meza was attempting to repeal the “castle doctrine,” including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who said he does not intend to back the bill.

“Let me be clear,” Abbott tweeted Wednesday. “The Castile Doctrine will not be reduced. 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,” Abbott continued.

Meza took to Twitter following backlash, claiming the bill had been “misrepresented” in the media. She added that she was simply trying to deter Texans from being quick to pull the trigger against criminals.

“My bill HB 196 and my position on the Texas Castle Doctrine has been misrepresented in the news as of late,” she tweeted last month. “It does not repeal the Castle Doctrine, and it does not restrict homeowners from using firearms in self-defense as applicable to current Texas stand your ground laws.”

Meza said she submitted the bill because the “castle doctrine…emboldens people to take justice into their own hands.”

“While theft is obviously wrong, we have laws to address that,” Meza reasoned. “I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death.”