On Tuesday, both state Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) and state Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga) voted in favor of legislation known as the Castle Doctrine, according to press releases from both Pickett and Baker.

According to Pickett's press release, the legislation, contained in House Bill 40, ensures "that individuals have legal protection to self-defense while standing their ground in their homes, vehicles or anywhere they have a right to be."

"Although our Second Amendment is guaranteed to us in both our state and federal constitutions, there is no legal protection for individuals who use lethal force in defending their families and their homes when under attack," Pickett stated in her release. "This legislation clarifies state law so that individuals who use lethal force to protect themselves will be rightfully protected under the law."

"This legislation succeeds in protecting individuals from civil liability for the lawful use of force in the protection of themselves or their loved ones when under attack or facing an intruder entering their home or vehicle," Baker stated in his release. "House Bill 40 mirrors legislation enacted in Florida and numerous other states across the country that are seeking to uphold the rights of law-abiding citizens."

According to Pickett's press release:

The Castle Doctrine, contained in House Bill 40, creates the presumption so that if an attacker or intruder intends to inflict bodily harm, deadly force may be used to protect oneself, family and others while in their home or an occupied vehicle. That presumption also applies if a person is trying to unlawfully remove an occupant, against his or her will from a home or vehicle.

According to Baker's press release:

Baker said the legislation contains exemptions, such as if the person entering a home was another resident of the home; a law enforcement officer; or a parent, grandparent or other guardian removing a child from the home or vehicle. In addition, this legislation would not apply if a person was using his or her home or vehicle to engage in criminal activity.

Pickett stated in her press release: "Unfortunately, the Castle Doctrine legislation was vetoed by the previous governor late last fall, but now that we're in a new session with a new administration, I am more optimistic than ever that this legislation will be moved through the Senate and signed by the governor."

This new version of the legislation also strengthens the penalties related to the trafficking of stolen guns.

House Bill 40 received a strong bipartisan vote of 164-37, according to Pickett's press release, and now heads to state Senate for consideration.

Information for this article was provided by press releases from the offices of Rep. Tina Pickett and Rep. Matt Baker.