Castle Doctrine

The laws governing the legal use, storage, carrying and transporting of firearms are constantly changing. Below are the applicable laws in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as of 9/25/2013. The below information is designed to be a guide and not the final word. If you have specific questions, please refer to Massachusetts legislation at  If you have any specific questions concerning Castle Doctrine/Self-Defense laws in any state, American Firearms Training recommends contacting an attorney.

The Castle Doctrine (also known as Castle Law, Defense of Habitat Law) are state legal defense laws that gives citizens in their homes/abode, and in some states, cars or workplaces the right to protect themselves, other people, and their property by force. In some instances this includes deadly force without the consequences of legal or possibly civil responsibility and criminal persecution. A Castle Doctrine also states that a person has no “duty of retreat” (avoid the conflict at all cost) when one’s home/abode is under attack.

Chapter 278 Section 8, Justification in libel cases.

The defendant in a prosecution for writing or publishing a libel may introduce in evidence the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as libellous, and the truth shall be a justification, unless actual malice is proved.

Chapter 278 Section 8a, Killing or injuring a person unlawfully in a dwelling; defense

In the prosecution of a person who is an occupant of a dwelling charged with killing or injuring one who was unlawfully in said dwelling, it shall be a defense that the occupant was in his dwelling at the time of the offense and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling. There shall be no duty on said occupant to retreat from such person unlawfully in said dwelling.

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