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'Castle doctrine' to be signed into law today

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Gov. Matt Blunt will sign the so-called 'Castle Doctrine' into law today (Tuesday).

The bill removes the requirement that a person has to flee before using deadly force to defend him or herself from an intruder in their home.

"Self defense in your own home is the absolute American right," said sponsor Marilyn Ruestman, a Republican from Joplin. "Of all the places on the planet that you should be able to feel safe and not be afraid of intruders is in your own dwelling."

The new law will also enable people to use deadly force without fleeing if an intruder attempts to enter their hotel room, tent, or occupied vehicle.

"It was really muddy on the area about whether you had to flee if you were able to," added Ruestman. "And that was at least enough of a fuzzy area to allow an attorney to take a criminal's complaint and file a suit against someone who was basically just defending themselves in their home."

The bill passed through the General Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support, with only a handful of Democrats in urban districts voting "no."