YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECT YOURSELF’: OKLA. HOUSE PASSES 2 BILLS RELATING TO PROPERTY RIGHTS

News 9 - March 10, 2023 9:03 am

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There are multiple protections in the state including “Stand Your Ground” and the “Castle Doctrine” allowing Oklahomans to use physical or deadly force, if it’s in self-defense.

A bill passing through the House Thursday expands part of the Castle Doctrine.

“It’s a simple bill, on your property if you feel that your life is threatened, you have the right to protect yourself,” said Rep. David Hardin, (R) Stillwell.

House Bill 2049 expands the definition of a dwelling- allowing people to use physical or deadly force against people trespassing anywhere on their private property, not just breaking into their actual house.

The previous law only applied to self-defense when a person broke into the actual home.

Democrats argue that this creates a vague law and opens more doors to problems.

“There are too many opportunities for accidental mishaps if we extend the Castle Doctrine,” said Rep. John Waldron (D) Tulsa.

Rep. Jay Steagle, (R) Yukon, argued that this is just a recognition of what should already be in the law.

“Suggesting that an individual has the right to be on someone else’s private property before any kind of action needs to be taken- even conversation is absolutely ridiculous,” said Rep. Steagle.

Many republicans say this bill is necessary for rural areas of the state.

“I live 30 minutes away from a maximum-security prison- I don’t have time to ask them what they’re doing there, I need to have the right to protect my property,” said Rep. Jim Grego, (R) Wilburton.

Democrats say property lines aren’t always clear, and that this can create problems for people who may be out hiking or hunting.

“Are you all familiar with somebody that’s been affected by being out in a rural area and death coming to you because you are out on someone else’s land,” questioned Rep. Goodwin.

With all the debate the author reminded house members the intent behind his bill was simple.

“This bill is never intended for you to walk out and shoot anyone you want on your property, this bill is intended for you to be able to protect yourself,” Rep. Hardin said.

 

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