New MO bill would expand 'castle doctrine' law - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New MO bill would expand 'castle doctrine' law

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

Changes to where and how you can protect yourself with a gun are making their way through the Missouri legislature.  

Right now, Missouri, like most states, has a castle doctrine law. However, it could soon join Heartland states Tennessee and Kentucky in being a "Stand Your Ground State," expanding those rights.

Currently in Missouri, you can use a gun to stop someone who might be a threat to you or your family, but that’s only in your home, car or other property.

A new proposed bill, SB 1037, would make it so you have that same right on public property.

Like many gun owners, one of Roy Hodgkiss Jr.’s main priorities is protecting his family.

While he feels he has that right in his own home, out in public is a different story.

“If I got into a situation, I’m not going to be worried about backing up. That’s going to be the last thing on my mind,” Hodgkiss said.

However, under current Missouri law, he MUST think about that. The law states you must try to retreat before using deadly force on your attacker or threat in public. This new bill would change that, meaning you could, technically, shoot first and run later.

“This one right here does need to get passed. So we can have reassurance for what we need to do,” Hodgkiss said.

Missouri's castle doctrine law has been in place since 2007. Even though the new bill would expand your rights, experts say, you have to think of the possible consequences before you pull the trigger.

“They make some changes in the law, but they still need to concentrate on the fact that maybe I can get away from here, maybe I can just run away,” Conceal Carry Instructor Kevin Glaser said.

Glaser said, regardless of the law, that choice to pull the trigger should only be made if there’s no other option.

“There’s still a whole lot of other things that one needs to think about before they pull a gun and fire that weapon to take someone else’s life,” Glaser said.

One Heartland attorney said no law can completely protect you from being prosecuted if you kill someone, even in self-defense.

Many things, like the reasonable person standard, go into play as well. That means, for example, a man who shoots and kills another man who is his same size and health would be more likely to be prosecuted than, say, an elderly woman who shoots and kills a large man who is attacking her. 

Experts strongly suggest knowing the laws and the responsibilities before deciding to get a permit to carry a gun.

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