Just last week, the Springfield ABC affiliate, KSPR, did a story featuring Springfield, Mo. criminal defense attorney Adam Woody on potential revisions to the Castle Doctrine. We posted a previous blog article regarding the Castle Doctrine in Missouri on July 16, 2014. The Missouri Legislature is yet again hoping to expand upon the provisions of the Castle Doctrine, adding others who may use deadly force. Currently, the homeowner or vehicle owner can use deadly force to protect against a person who is attempting to unlawfully enter. The current revision to the law is aiming to allow people who are not necessarily the home owner, but anyone else who is legally there, to use deadly force against another.
Although protecting the home is a critically important liberty in a freedom seeking country, we have to be mindful that this could be a slippery slope. It seems every year we are allowing the use of deadly force in more and more situations. This could tend to create confusion, even with generally law abiding people, as to when deadly force may or may not be used. It is sad to say that we are seeing an increased amount of gun violence on the streets of Springfield, perhaps due in part to people not understanding how or in what circumstances a weapon can be used in defense.
Our advice is that when you have a weapon in your home or vehicle, be aware of the laws governing self-defense, justification, and the Castle Doctrine, and have a thorough understanding of how those principles are applied in Missouri. It could certainly keep you from being caught on the wrong side of the law.