The Dillsburg Republican's latest proposed legislation would allow homeowners to use firearms or other deadly force against intruders without first retreating, as required under current law.
A variation of the "Castle Doctrine" and "Stand Your Ground" laws enacted by about half the states in recent years, Perry's bill cleared the House Judiciary Committee this week by a 22-4 margin. It has widespread support from other lawmakers, 125 of whom have signed on as co-sponsors.
Under the bill, homeowners would be allowed to use deadly force if they believe it's necessary to protect against death, serious injury, kidnapping or rape. The attacker or intruder would have to display a firearm, replica firearm or some other weapon that could reasonably be assumed to be lethal. The legislation also extends the same rights to vehicle occupants.
Although sometimes criticized as "shoot-first" laws, such legislation is generally well-received. We suspect that's probably because most people already assume the right to protect themselves in their homes.
If a homeowner -- who happens to be armed -- reasonably believes they or their loved ones are in immediate danger from an intruder, they're not likely to flee. And they're probably not going to spend too much time pondering the consequences before using potentially deadly force.
Police and prosecutors seem to accept this, as well. When was the last time anyone can remember a homeowner charged in such a situation? There might be some extreme cases, but not too many.
The bill also includes some commonsense exceptions, which, again, we believe the average person already recognizes.
Homeowners would have to show they had a legitimate reason to believe the intruder posed a serious threat, Perry says. The bill wouldn't permit people to shoot intruders who are running away, for example.
It also would not apply if the person entering the home is another resident of the home, a law enforcement officer or a parent, grandparent or guardian legally entitled to remove a child from the home.
And it wouldn't pertain to people who are using their homes or vehicles to engage in criminal activity.
One big change the bill makes is that it offers immunity from lawsuits against someone who justifiably uses force to protect themselves or other people. Right now, even though the law says that person did nothing wrong, they can still be sued by the intruder or the intruder's family.
Perry's legislation still needs approval from the full House of Representatives and Senate, and we suspect it's going to get it.
After all, a person's home is their castle and he or she has every right to defend it.