Texans Have State Rep. Debbie Riddle and God to Thank For the Right to Gun Down Burglars

When Texas passed its version of the castle doctrine in 2007, allowing homeowners to shoot burglars without fear of repercussions, support in the Texas Legislature was nearly unanimous; of 180 lawmakers, only 13 voted nay.

Almost as many legislators (136) co-authored or sponsored the bill, as Democrats and Republicans alike were eager to attach their names to a relatively noncontroversial measure that supported both gun and property rights.

Republican State Representative Debbie Riddle, who is listed as one of the bill's sponsors, would prefer you not forget her role in getting the castle doctrine on the books. In her version of events, which she briefly recounted on Facebook, it was her and God against the world.

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God wrote the 1st Castle Doctrine in Exodus 22:2. It says if a thief breaks into your home & you kill him you are not guilty. In 2007 we passed the Castle Doctrine (I was a Joint Author). Last Session I added you car so that ALL that applies to your home applies in your car too. This was the topic of my "God & Government Moment" in our Sunday School class. Next Sunday we will have another "God & Government" moment!

First, a couple of factual quibbles. While Riddle introduced a castle doctrine bill in the House, that version went nowhere. She was merely a sponsor, not a "joint author," of the Senate bill that actually passed. And we're not sure to make of her "Last Session I added you car," since vehicles were explicitly covered by the 2007 bill.

Now, on to her "God & Government" cheerleading. It's true, as Riddle says, that Exodus 22:2 contains a version of the castle doctrine. In the New Revised Standard Version, it reads like this:

If a thief is found breaking in, and is beaten to death, no bloodguilt is incurred

Riddle neglects to mention that this provision only applies at night ("if it happens after sunrise, bloodguilt is incurred"). She also neglects to say whether she endorses making other punishments outlined in Exodus 22 the law in Texas.

Dictates like "You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live" and "Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death" seem a bit out of proportion. Also, given Riddle's hawkish views on immigration, which led to her ill-fated attempt to initiate an Arizona-style crackdown and her endorsement of U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert's absurd "terror babies" theory, we wonder what she thinks of Exodus 22:21:

You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson