Lawmaker wants to change Castle Doctrine

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - A Texas lawmaker wants to make serious changes to the state law that shields citizens who injure or kill someone while fighting back.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman believes the Castle Doctrine in Texas is too broad, too ambiguous and encourages violence. ColemanĀ said he plans to introduce new legislation which will curtail portions of the state law.

"The law is shielding activity that should not be shielded," Coleman said.

Coleman points to a recent study by Texas A&M University which concludes that in the 24 states with self-protection laws, including Texas, homicide rates have increased 8 percent on average.

That research by the University's Department of Economic is also concluded "stand your ground" type laws have had no deterrent effect on burglary, robbery and aggravated assault.

Coleman said he believes that every Texan has a right to protect his or her family once a criminal enters the home, but he wants to abolish the parts of the Castle Doctrine that extend prosecution protection to people in cars and at work. He is also studying the effectiveness of other states' laws which require an attemptĀ to "retreat" before fighting back.

Others believe the law should remain as is, including Johnny Lewis Jr. He survived a home invasion by firing his .32 caliber handgun at robbers who forced entry into his Cleveland-area home.

"They come in your home and try to rob you. Man, you got to protect yourself," Lewis said.

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