Sen. Royce West Challenges Texas’ Castle Law After Florida Shooting

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you believe that a man or woman’s home is their castle, then perhaps you feel the same way as handgun owner, Mike Schneider. “I feel it’s important to be able to protect my family,” said Schneider.

In Texas, the Castle Doctrine allows residents to protect their property from intruders. “In Texas, if somebody is trying to get into your house or get into your car, you have a right to use deadly force to stop them,” explained CBS 11 legal analyst, Jerry Loftin. “You don’t have to wait until they’re inside the place,” added Loftin.

In Florida, the “Stand Your Ground” law gives residents there a much wider scope outside of the home to use deadly force, rather than retreat.

Florida’s law also allows police on the scene to determine whether self-defense was justified.  Police discretion sometimes means that self-defense cases are not always filtered through the legal system for the courts to decide.

Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, spoke at  UT-Arlington Friday and said the claim of self-defense in the Trayvon Martin case should not have been left up to the sole discretion of the police. “How will a police officer know if a person is standing their ground until there is an investigation”, asked Bush. “Clearly, there should have been an investigation and clearly that’s what’s happening now,” the former Governor added.

Nearly 300 students, neighbors and children rallied Friday on the campus of Paul Quinn College in South Dallas. They too questioned the Florida law that allowed neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, to go free after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

Democratic State Senator, Royce West of Dallas, says the Florida shooting has him rethinking the Castle Law in Texas. “I’m going to ask the Lt. Governor to have the Criminal Justice Committee of the Senate study the Castle Doctrine in light of the Trayvon Martin assassination in Florida,” West told the applauding crowd.

sen royce west Sen. Royce West Challenges Texas Castle Law After Florida Shooting

State Sen. Royce West - (D) Dallas

The shooting has even President Barack Obama challenging Florida’s law and other laws like it. “I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen”, said President Obama. “That means we examine the laws and the context for what happened,” the President added.

Those calling for Zimmerman’s arrest want to know why he pursued Trayvon Martin, despite being told by a 911 operator that it was unnecessary, and that he should wait for police to arrive.

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One Comment

  1. Noemail says:

    What’s the alternative when your life is threatened? You could do like Washington DC and Chicago are doing: Disarm honest citizens, strip them of their right and ability to defend themselves, but most importantly, just remember:

    “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.”

    1. nonya says:

      One of the reasons to carry a weapon is because a cop is too heavy.

    2. buyerbwear says:

      That’s exactly right. My home, my family, my castle; if you’re coming in uninvited, you run the risk of being greeted with a small piece of lead/

  2. bob the builder says:

    Oh heck here we go!!……Got to side with the darn MINORITIES!….THATS RIGHT YOU GOT TO GET THAT MINORITY VOTE BEHIND YOU!! That was in Florida, are you going to be the one to make Texans not be able to protect thier prperty??….come on now

  3. Bill says:

    Apples and turnips. West is just shooting his mouth off comparing two totally different laws. Leave us the heck out of Florida’s business or move down there to spout your nonsense.

  4. Howard Hull says:

    West is an idiot! Simple as that. All these people chase is votes so that they can get reelected and steal more from the taxpayers of this great state and country. We need to completely purge the political system of these vermin! FROM THE TOP DOWN!!

  5. Texan says:

    This guy was not defending his home or property. He was playing renegade rambo wannabe cop and threw all rules, warnings and laws to the wind. He went out picking a fight and found one in the guise of this innocent young man. Possession of Skittles does not merit being killed. Don’t think they qualify as a weapon. The man’s racist comment to the 911 operator, who was telling him not to follow, etc., will hopefully bite his ass big time.

    1. Jack says:

      You are exactly right!!! I have no idea why the media keeps referring to this law?!?!? He was not protecting “his” home, and he clearly was in no danger. I’m so sick of the media relating this law to this case.

      1. JustAThought says:

        The ‘Stand your ground’ law is not simply about protecting your home. It states that you have a right to protect yourself wherever you are. You do not have to flee the scene if you feel threatened. If you are not breaking the law, you have every right to protect yourself when you are in public. I am not siding with either of the two men, only trying to clarify what is intended by the law itself.

    2. tired of it says:

      BS BS BS….He was attacked from behind and NOT with a bag of skittles…u r a DA

      1. CrustyOldGuy says:

        If you were really tired of it, you’d stfu and let the law take its course.

      2. james grey says:

        America never heard about the Black Florida kid that SHOT 2 whites, as they were on their knees begging for mercy? So, what about that? Sure anyone that is shot is very bad & sad, but I guess it is okay for Blacks to KILL WHITES? No one should kill anyone regardless of race, color or religion. My question is Why is it that our TV and all MEDIA never covers ALL the NEWS nor ever tell the rest of the story. It is a Democrat MEDIA. That is why I listen to FOX NEWS. They tell it all.

    3. Doc Neaves says:

      what racist comment? the operator can’t order him to do or not do anything, and didn’t. you’re just full of misinformation, aren’t you? You really should try getting some facts into that decision making machine of yours.

      1. No Name 12 says:

        Hey Doc! It’s been all over the news and in countless stories about the comment he is saying on the 911 call. Why don’t you read and pay attention to more national news instead of getting your information from local news outlets. Texasn is not making things up. Get your facts straight.

  6. JOHN says:


  7. Steven says:

    Re: Trayvon Martin shooting

    How about a little objectivity, CBS 11?

    Kyle Rogers
    Charleston Conservative Examiner

    Recently, I wrote about the media’s handling of the Trayvon Martin shooting. I pointed out that on February 27th, the Fox station in Orlando interviewed the witness who called 911. The article I wrote has received tens of thousands of Facebook shares. It was also quoted at length in a recent AP article that is now syndicated all over the nation.


    Many news articles have also claimed the neighborhood is “mostly white.” This is also a lie. The neighborhood is only 49% white.


    All the way back on February 27th, the local Orlando Fox station interviewed the witness who dialed 911. Almost none of the thousands of articles since have mentioned any of the details described by the witness. Some, however, have attributed false statements to this witness. On March 16th, the Sanford police department released new details to the Orlando Sentinel. Once again, these details have been ignored or changed by the media.

    The witness reports that George Zimmerman was on the ground and Trayvon is on top of him punching him.
    The witness says that George Zimmerman was screaming and yelling for help.

    Police arrive and find Zimmerman bleeding on his face and the back of his head. He also has had grass stains on his back. All this confirms the story told by Zimmerman and the witness.
    Police play the 911 tape for Trayvon Martin’s father, who tells police that the voice screaming is not the voice of his son.


    The media also characterizes Trayvon as a “model student.” In fact, he under a five day suspension when the shooting took place. …

    1. Texas_Wyatt says:

      Yes, he may have been on the ground. But do we know what caused the initial confrontation? Maybe Mr. Zimmerman instigated the confrontation and then was getting his A– whipped by the subject of his confrontation. I know if someone were to confront me, I would not hesitate to fight back if I were doing nothing wrong.

      1. Dear Mr. Senseless says:

        If you think it’s ok to assault someone for following you or asking you a question, then you’re going to get yourself shot and/or arrested, tough guy.

      2. Doc Neaves says:

        If someone asked you what you were doing, would you assault them? Do you seriously think Zimmerman assaulted Martin? Why? What sense would that make? Martin is clearly in the wrong here, but you’ll continue to try and find some way for it to be the other way around. Face the facts. Another black youth thug assaulted someone and got shot for it. Too bad, so sad.

    2. bruce_4u2day says:

      Found your problem, FAUX news!

      1. Yvette says:

        OMG bruce…one thing has nothing to do with another…get a life

      2. Doc Neaves says:

        No, Bruce…we have found YOUR problem.

  8. the dude says:

    what a shameless attempt to make self-defense a crime. of course he has no solution to what happens if you don’t defend yourself, and considering his constituency…..well, you do the math!

  9. Dallas Guy says:

    I hate too say it…but you can always tell when election time is coming up.

  10. JCSAzle says:

    This is the reason we do NOT need democrat senators in Texas, he should do us all a favor and relocate anywhere north of the Red River.

    1. DIVA says:

      Oklahoma doesn’t want him either.

  11. A Realist says:

    US law is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY: In California, you can get lifetime imprisonment for stealing a pizza or non-violent drug offenses, so that prisons are overcrowded with non-violent people (the money should be invested in healthcare, social systems, and education), and in Florida, the “Stand-Your-Ground Law” allows you to get away with murder, just by saying you felt threatened by your victim. Since the introduction of that Law, the number of killings has doubled. But everybody wants to have his own gun and can get it with no problems, and when a massacre happens, people pretend to be shocked, but just one week later, they have forgotten it completely and continue to buy–and use–guns and protest gun control. If you lose a beloved person–who cares? Remember, IN THE US, A PIZZA IS MORE VALUABLE THAN A HUMAN LIFE.

    1. BigFED says:

      I had a case where a woman and her pre-teen daughter were robbed outside a pizza shop after picking up their order at gunpoint by a 15 year old. A citizen with a CHL license saw what was happening and came to the couples assistance. The punk pointed his gun at the CHL holder and was shot by the citizen. When the inevitable question “You shot him over a pizza? came up, his response was perfect, “No, I shot him because he pointed a gun at me!” Giving the a hole the pizza was NO guarantee the he would not have still shot the lady and/ or her daughter.

      It isn’t about WHAT is being taken, it is about the PROCESS of HOW the item is being taken!!! Ask me for it and I have a choice whether to give it to you or not. Use a weapon and you have made my choice easy.

    2. Dear Surealist says:

      In what alternative universe do you think that a gun ban will do anything other than leave victims at the mercy of gun-toting criminals. Felons cannot own handguns and yet they still do. Your naivete is amusing.

      1. BigFED says:

        Not amusing, potentially fatal!

      2. A Realist says:

        Of course, there is no 100% safety. In countries with strict gun laws, massacres can happen, too. But since it is much more difficult to get guns there, massacres happen MUCH, MUCH RARER than in the US, and after massacres, gun laws are usually TIGHTENED. In the US, gun laws are sometimes even SOFTENED after massacres (e.g. guns in schools and campuses!?) , and the Stand-Your-Ground Law is a real INVITATION to killers. Fighting guns by even more guns means more massacres. As I said: If you believe a pizza is more valuable than a human being, you have no reason to mourn when a person you loved is killed. Just by a new pizza, and you have replaced him/her perfectly. This means your children’s lives are an EXTREMELY LOW price for your right to bear arms (SARCASM!!).

      3. Doc Neaves says:

        To A Ridiculist

        To NOT have that law is a real invitation to REAL killers, those who prowled the streets before the law. How many did it take away? I don’t care if one guy died instead of robbing us, or if one guy decided to get a real job instead of robbing us, it was worth it.

        You are allowed to defend yourself, and to much offensive behavior goes unchallenged. A gun isn’t the answer until someone starts to threaten your life, and in some cases, that just means “I’ll kick your butt!”. In this case, Zimmerman had every right to follow him, but when assaulted, also had every right to shoot him. To carry a firearm in case of attack when on patrol isn’t offensive, it’s prudent. Those who tell you to leave your firearm at home should be telling you to carry it, but in these days of political correctness, they are too willing to surrender to PC as long as they get to pretend like they can carry a weapon AND use it.

    3. DvlDoc says:

      It is a sad state of affairs when we should ever allow ourselves to be disarmed, for any reason! It would be all the more traggic to surrender this God Given Right the whining incompitent ramblings of a person who has no respectfor the institution of personal freedom and responsibility. You see “A Realist” must realize that the right to keep and bear arms is never one that our founding fathers intended to even be up for debates…Hence the “the right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” Now if we take a close look at this statement the laws that have been passed recently are not even constitutional. Of course such a little thing as the constitution never seems to stand in the way of irrational thought processes such as your own…..Please wake up!

  12. Ken says:

    The real politics have begun. Royce West called the shooting an assassination which only serves to inflame an already tragic situation. West said it just to get his name in the newspaper and on TV. He is the worst type of politician.

  13. bill moore says:

    I will leave it up to you to see who is getting into this mess with their 2 cents

  14. bruce_4u2day says:

    Bad call West. This Dem is keeping his 9 and his .38 close by. The “stand your ground” law does not apply to the alleged murderer Zimmerman because he chased Martin down and started the altercation.

    1. Doc Neaves says:

      with absolutely no evidence of that, you make such a hateful statement. Were you there? None of the witnesses described what you say happened, including the one who actually saw Martin attacking Zimmerman. Tell me, if you are following someone in public, does this give them the right to attack you? Are you prevented from defending yourself? But of course, you want this to be a certain way, so don’t bother you with facts, right?

      You are what’s wrong with America.

      1. SDM says:

        The 911 call proves Zimmerman was following the kid. If he would have kept his distance and stayed in his car, nobody would have been hurt. Instead he decided to play the hero and it backfired on him. Who started the fight? I do not know, I only know it wouldn’t have happened if Zimmerman didn’t create the confrontation to begin with.

      2. Doc Neaves says:

        Zimmerman’s presence or actions in no way instigated a fight. By your reasoning, Martin’s presence was just as much a factor, so they split responsibility. However, witnesses say Martin was attacking Zimmerman, which would bring self-defense back into play.

  15. Juju says:

    Royce West should keep his big fat black mouth shut. Somebody always has to take an incident and blow it up if it involves a MINORITY. Quit comparing apples to avocados. Somebody breaking into your private house,TheCastle Law, has NOTHING to do with some idiot gunning down a citizen in the middle of the street.
    I have a doormat that is beside my door that says “Forget the dog, beware of the owner”, It has a picture of a gun pointing forward. You better believe if you break into my house, I don’t care what color you are, you’ll be DEAD!

  16. StandMyGround_4Ever says:

    Leave it to the elected-elite to shoot off their mouths before all the facts are in and known.

    Obama and Royce West should be calling for calm and review while the case is being investigated.

    Right now, they know squat. Keep you mouth shut and let this mess get sorted out.

    Obama and West are idiots for having diarrhea of the mouth.

    From the limited amount of information available, the “Stand Your Ground” law is not in play here.

    Royce, why are you asking for a review of the law??? Are you really the idiot we know you to be?

    1. Juju says:


  17. FedUpTxn says:

    When you ASSUME, you make an A** out of U and ME.
    There are two sides to every story.
    Might doesn’t make right!
    The only difference between races are the ones WE create for ourselves.

  18. BigFED says:

    On his best day, Royce West is a dolt instead of an idiot!!! For an attorney, he sure does NOT know anything about the law. If the Treyvon incident had occurred in Texas, the entire process would have FULLY investigated by the police, passed on to the District Attorney and presented to the Grand Jury. In no way would the case of ended with the police saying, “Ho hum, self defense because the live guy said so!”

  19. sandy says:

    royce west is a fool he should go away

  20. Yvette says:

    Royce West is an idiot. Protecting your home has nothing to do with Trayvon’s murder where a man stalked him and hunted him down.

  21. larianna says:

    Royce…please leave our state…you are a joke… are a socialist …wonder what you would do if an intruder entered your place and would do something sinister to you or your family.. The castle law is legit… why dont you look at the people who are doing home invasions…. oh yeah that would be racist…If you check our local news many of the perpetrators are minority based….hmmmmmm lately the media trying to defend the thugs vs. innocent people who defend their homes… This is the push for gun control plain and simple…. Many who are Dems on here take notice of your leadership…..before it is too late… Socialism is prevalent …and it starts from the top…..some of the things the media has been posting is ludicruos

  22. ATTENTION!!! says:

    On 8:02am, June 8th 2008, 24-year-old Kenneth Bain, was coming from a bachelor party at 8:15 a.m. Sunday. Bain, according to police, struck bike riders Meredith Hatch and Mike Alfaro from behind with a Lincoln Navigator. The collision was so harsh it tore up the hood of the car and killed the two bicyclists instantly. Bain’s family hired Senator Royce West to help defend their son form intoxication manslaughter charges. West was able to use his influence to reduce Bain’s sentence to two years for killing two people.

  23. raymond says:

    I have had tires slashed, autos keyed, and personal threats, so I am supposed to call police, if they ever show up it’s over. These acts or performed by drug dealers, drug users and out of control teens usually Afro American or Hispanic. So how am I supposed to protect my family, hide under the bed? These people have no respect for them self’s or others. They made their beds so let them sleep in it, even if it’s in the ground.

  24. kpeugh says:

    Royce, what the hell makes you think any citizen of the Republic of Texas should not defend themselves?
    You are just wanting some time in the spotlight.

  25. DIVA says:

    West had a microphone, cameras, and an audience. He couldn’t help but insert himself in the situation.

  26. Toldjaso says:

    Rep. West is yet another in a long line of racist, race-baiting demagogues Dallas has produced now for decades!! Doesn’t matter if they’re on the city council, county commissioners or in Austin!! I doubt he even fully understands the law in the first place!!!

    1. RR Worker says:

      He understands that most of the thugs this law is used against are probably past clients of his or as Ozero said the other day “Look like him”. He just cant bear to see the thug’s job of robbing whitey made harder by a law that allows the thugs to be shot on sight. By the way, our castle doctrine isn’t just for your home, it protects you in any place you are legally allowed to be, especially in your vehicle on the street as well as your neighbor’s property too.

  27. FedUpTxn says:

    I’d like to see ONE story were Royce West protected the rights of anyone who was NOT African American. Call Joyce Ann Brown’s agency regarding false arrest, etc. and if you don’t have the right accent, they won’t even bother! Racism at it’s finest! Should be illegal, right?

  28. John says:

    I should only hope and pray you nor I ever have to deal with a situation like this.

  29. Brad says:

    How hilariously typical of democrats.

  30. AK says:

    So, the right to bear arms really means the right for us to decided if you can bear arms to protect yourself, family, or friends in your home. Awesome thanks America for getting worse and worse every single day.

  31. limey rocker says:

    The Texas Castle does need to be revised to read”any crime scene clean up will be paid (before burial) by the maggot that attempted the break in”.

  32. takeanumber says:

    When election time comes around State Sen royce west-(d) dallas needs to find a different job.

  33. CommonDecency says:

    So to the person who claims Zimmerman absolutely had the right to chase the teenager and to shoot the teenager when the teenager attempted to defend himself, what would you do if some strange guy armed with a holstered firearm follows you as you’re walking down the street and then exits his vehicle and chases you several hundred yards on foot. You’d probably shoot him with your concealed weapon and would be well within your right to do so. If anyone had the right to defend themselves in this situation, it was Trayvon. The Texas Castle law explicit excludes you from protection if you provoke the incident.

    1. Doc Neaves says:

      What evidence do you have that he “chased” Martin? None, just an emotional change of verb done in order to instigate blame. “When the teenager attempted to defend himself”….again, without any evidence that Zimmerman attacked him, you are willing to place Marting in defense of his life, which gives him carte blanche in your mind, but not Zimmerman, who was, according to witnesses, being attacked? Projection. A right you think Zimmerman doesn’t have, you think Martin does. Only under your suggested scenario. Yet we suggest the other way, based on facts, and you will say Zimmerman had no right to be there, or right to have a gun, or right to follow him and watch what he did. Disingenuous, and intellectually dishonest.

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  35. GTX says:

    I am a single parent with a teenage son and daughter. I do not think in Texas the castle law is a issue. We can not pursue a person but we do have the right to protect are home and I would not like to have that right provoked. So if someone breaks into my house while we are sleeping I’m suppose to do what? Oh just call 911 in wait? We could all be dead by the time they get there, honestly speaking.

  36. Glenn says:

    Assassination? And he’s a What??
    You’re kidding me…

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    1. james grey says:

      Senator, there is nothing wrong with the TEXAS CASTLE LAW, so leave it alone.
      Yes, it is bad a young man was killed walking in a neighborhood, if that was all he was doing. Guess, we will never know the whole story. All we ever hear is what the MEDIA states, and MOST of the time, the LIB Media never tells the entire story. It is the Media’s fault for this maybe, wrong stories. Media should report the TRUTH and not what they BELIEVE happens.

  39. S.Evans says:

    “assassination”? Please! Talk about a loaded word. Under Texas law Zimmerman would CLEARLY have been in the wrong because he pursued the suspect without having witnessed a violent crime against another person and because he didn’t truly act in defense of others within the meaning of the Texas statute, which also PROHIBITS police backed neighborhood watch members from carrying firearms even if they ARE a concealed carry holder.

    Florida’s law is the most liberal in the nation, and while Texas has one that is close, we did insert enough safeguards to keep widespread mayhem from happening.

    For example if I as a resident of Texas want a Florida non-Resident CHL all I have to do is send in a copy of my Texas one along with a form and I’ll have a Florida concealed handgun license. For the Texas license you have to attend a class, take a paper test, then prove you can shoot on the firing range.

    Further, without the ability to carry a weapon, I wouldn’t feel safe wandering my ranch, where the wildlife I worry about is mostly furry as opposed to hoodie. And yet in his over reaching way he and other idiots like him will write their new laws to be as restrictive as possible until like in Massachusetts it will be illegally to openly carry a firearm on your own land even while managing your property in the middle of nowhere (yes, this is illegal in MA, yet another reason I left MIT less intellectual if more free surroundings).

  40. днес новини says:

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    1. james grey says:

      Thank you, Senator, but I could NEVER work for a Democrat. Seems like we are like night n day on subjects about the Law. Democrats, it seems just can not understand the LAW. I have always believe that our Congress would make Laws for the people. Now, I see they make Laws to get paid more and remain in Congress to make more dumb laws. How about another Law, since most likely there or plenty laws NOT being followed, on ILLEGALS? No sir, I could never work for any Congressman. Not my kind of people. I like common sense folks. Not dummies!

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