Wyoming is the 20th State to Adopt "Castle Doctrine"
Gov signs 'castle doctrine' bill
By JARED MILLER
Star-Tribune capital bureau
Friday, March 14, 2008 7:25 AM MDT
CHEYENNE -- Declaring that Wyoming residents have a right to defend their homes, Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed a bill Thursday that spells out in statute that citizens may use deadly force on intruders.
Freudenthal said he supported a last-minute change to House Bill 137 that narrowed the scope of the bill to only cover intrusions inside the home.
"I was troubled as it came out of the House because it went outside the castle," said Freudenthal, referring to the bill's common title, the "castle doctrine," which is said to have originated from a concept in English common law that a man's home is his castle.
"Inadvertently, I think some of the language went a little broad and I think the Senate brought it back into what is really much more consistent with our traditional jury instructions," Freudenthal said during a ceremony at the capitol where he signed a number of bills.
Wyoming joins more than 20 other states in enacting the "castle doctrine," which has been favored by the National Rifle Association.
Wyoming's version of the bill provides immunity from civil lawsuits to anyone who uses force in defense of his or her "person, property or abode or to prevent injury to another."
The bill does not cover deadly force in cases where"a peace officer is trying to enter a home or when the guardian of a child is trying to lawfully remove the child from a home.
Critics, including some Wyoming prosecutors, insist that case law already provides the right to self-defense and the law could erode existing protections. The bill is effective on July 1.