Mannix to push lawmakers to adopt 'Castle Doctrine'

A former candidate for Oregon governor says homeowners should be allowed to shoot intruders as soon as they step foot inside their homes.

Kevin Mannix argues homeowners should be free to defend their property without worrying about prosecution or the threat of a lawsuit.

There are already laws treating a person's home "like a castle" in other states but not in Washington and Oregon. But there are efforts to bring what's called the "Castle Doctrine" to both states to protect homeowners, renters, and business owners who try to protect themselves or their family.

In October 2010, James Sartor was determined to get inside Roger Buzzetti's house.

"I opened the door and this guy came at me," Buzzetti said. "He's got that look in his eye that he wants to kill you. He grabbed (a large metal stand) and he came through the window swinging it at me. And I caught it with my left (hand)."

Sartor didn't stop until Buzzetti reached for a gun.

"I took the gun from my wife (Peggy) and shot him twice. I didn't aim to kill him, though."

Sartor survived, but the encounter took a toll.

"My wife, after it was over, if she came home, and I wasn't in the car with her, she would not get out of the car and go in the house," Buzzetti said.

The Buzzettis didn't have to worry about criminal prosecution. They were attacked. But Keith Cramer, of Sutherland, shot and killed a stranger he found sleeping on his couch. In 2009, he was sentenced to 19 months in prison.

The "Castle Doctrine" would change that, giving homeowners the right to use deadly force without being threatened, without trying to retreat.

"The minute that he broke our window, I guess that was what saved us from the fact that the intent was to come in and harm us," said Peggy Buzzetti.

The Buzzettis believe the law is tipped toward the intruder right now. They're hoping to tip it back.

"If you come up to my door and kick it in or you're breaking my windows, I think you have the right to shoot 'em. 100 percent," said Roger Buzzetti. "I don't think you should have to wait for him to make a move to kill you."

But they will have to wait.

Washington state senators have introduced a bill to put the "Castle Doctrine" into law there: It's stalled.

And in Oregon, a campaign to give voters the final say on the "Castle Doctrine" is out of cash and not moving forward.

Mannix says he'll continue to push lawmakers and hopes the Oregon Legislature takes up the "Castle Doctrine" debate in 2013.