State Rep. files bill to gut Texas’ castle doctrine
By News Editors // Dec 16, 2020

A Democrat State Representative filed a bill this week to modify the Texas Castle Doctrine law. The bill would require homeowners to be "unable to safely retreat" before using deadly force.


(Article by Bob Price republished from

State Representative Terry Meza (D-Irving) filed House Bill 196 to significantly modify the Texas Castle Doctrine Law. "What my bill would do if passed, would require a homeowner to exhaust the potential of safely retreating into their habitation before using deadly force in defense of themselves or their property," Meza tweeted.

"I filed this bill because the castle doctrine as it currently exists emboldens people to take justice into their own hands," she continued. "While theft is obviously wrong, we have laws to address that."

Reaction from Texas Governor Greg Abbott came quickly.

"The Castle Doctrine will not be reduced. We won’t force Texas homeowners to retreat" Governor Abbott tweeted. "Especially with the crazy ‘defund police’ ideas, homeowners need to protect themselves now more than ever. We will protect 2nd Amendment rights."

Explaining her position, Meza tweeted, "I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death."

One Twitter user expressed his displeasure with Meza’s bill.

Meza also filed other anti-gun legislation on the opening day of pre-filing bills for the legislative session that begins in January. Those bills include HB178 that would prohibit the possession and transfer of a firearm magazine with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.

"High-capacity magazines are largely unnecessary in regards to hunting and self defense," she wrote in a letter detailing her legislative plans. "If it takes you more than ten shots to hit the animal you’re hunting, you probably shouldn’t be hunting."

In addition to adding a requirement to "safely retreat" before using deadly force, the bill also strips out two crimes to which a person could use deadly force — robbery and aggravated robbery.

An apparent parody posted on many blogs and social media platforms reports the legislator’s thoughts about the bill explains:

Under the new law the homeowner’s obligation is to flee the home at the first sign of intrusion. If fleeing is not possible he must cooperate with the intruder. But if violence breaks out it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure no one gets hurt. The best way to achieve this is to use the minimum non-lethal force possible because intruders will be able to sue for any injuries they receive at the hands of the homeowner."

"In most instances the thief needs the money more than the homeowner does," Meza reasoned. "The homeowner’s insurance [will] reimburse his losses. On balance, the transfer of property is likely to lead to a more equitable distribution of wealth. If my bill can help make this transfer a peaceful one so much the better."

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