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Make My Day Laws, and Self-Defense

Make My Day Laws, and Self-Defense

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Fortunately, it's just plastic. Source: maxw hide caption

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Source: maxw

A man in Texas reportedly sees two people breaking into his neighbor's house, calls 911, and then grabs his shotgun. In the end, two men lay dead in front of his house, and the shooter claims self-defense under Texas' "castle doctrine" laws. Basically, castle laws (and similar "make my day" laws) come from the idea that your home is your castle, and you have the right to use deadly force if someone breaks in. The obvious question in this case: Is his neighbor's house also his castle? The courts will decide this case, but your rights to self-defense change depending on which state you're standing in. In some places, you have to try to get away before opening fire; shooting is only a last resort. In other states, you can not only shoot to kill in your home, but also in your car or office. It's a confusing mix of legal and ethical mazes, and we'll try to work through them on the show today. How far should the right to self-defense extend?

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