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Missouri House approves legislation to expand Castle Doctrine - KOAM TV 7

Missouri House approves legislation to expand Castle Doctrine

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The Missouri House this week approved legislation that aims to expand the Castle Doctrine to include the guests of a homeowner. 

The Castle Doctrine allows homeowners to shoot intruders without retreating.

Just as an intruder often does not differentiate between a homeowner or a guest, some residents in Joplin say there should also be no difference in the rights of a homeowner versus an invited visitor in the home.

"If I had a guest in my home, I would definitely want them to protect himself, my stuff, my animals," said Penny Goodan, homeowner. "Whatever I could do, I would want them to have permission to do also."

The Castle Doctrine, also known as the 'stand your ground' law, enables a homeowner to not be required to flee or retreat their home when someone uninvited enters, construed as a credible threat.

House Bill 122 aims to extend that same defense mechanism to a house guest.

"An invited guest, or someone that is lawfully by invitation of the homeowner present, has the the same legal protection in that they also are not required to retreat," said Captain Bob Higginbotham, Joplin Police Department. "They can stand their ground, and they have a defense for the use of force to protect themselves."

Law enforcement officials say while the doctrine does provide a good defense mechanism, deadly force should remain a last resort.

"If you don't have the training and the ability to defend yourself adequately and safely, if you have the opportunity to disengage from a conflict, I think you're better off to do that," Higginbotham said.

Opponents of the measure have expressed concern over increasing the number of shooting deaths that occur.

However, many say they would like to see their guests with the same legal protection as in their own home.

"I would want them to feel that my home was their home, and whatever they would do for their own home, they would do for mine," Goodan said.

The legislation now moves to the Missouri Senate.
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