Property owners in Wisconsin will now have more protections against criminal charges or civil cases, under a bill signed into law by Governor Scott Walker. The bill, known as the Castle Doctrine, grants immunity to property owners who use deadly force against trespassers illegally in their homes, on their property, or in their vehicle.
The measure was among 21 bills signed by the governor Wednesday in private ceremonies at the state Capitol. Others included a cap on attorney fees in civil cases and legislation blocking local ordinances on the management of rental properties.
The immunity granted by the Castle Doctrine would not apply if a public safety worker is hurt or killed while trying to do their job.
State Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), a sponsor of the bill, says the measure protects the right of property owners to defend themselves and their loved ones when facing a potentially dangerous intruder.
Wanggaard says “there is no place where a person has more of a right to be safe than in their own home.”
Critics of the bill have argued it will increase the risk of innocent people being shot or killed just for wandering near a person’s home. Wanggaard says that has not happened in states with similar laws and there’s little risk of Wisconsin becoming the “Wild Wild West.”