Pennsylvania has very strict and often confusing laws regulating the possession and use of firearms. While the law recognizes the rights of homeowners to defend themselves and their property, there are limits to this right. When a homeowner uses force or the threat of force on his own property, he can face criminal charges if authorities view his actions to be excessive.
On Saturday morning, a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses ventured past the “private property” sign that marked the property line of a 59-year-old Pennsylvania man’s home. The ensuing encounter has resulted in weapons charges being filed against the homeowner.
Allegedly, two women came to the man’s residence in Price Township when he asked them to leave his property and threatened to get a gun if they did not. Pennsylvania State Police say that as the women were walking back to their vehicle, the 59-year-old homeowner emerged from his garage brandishing a 9 mm rifle. Allegedly, they women were not moving back to their vehicle and off the man’s property quickly enough and the man fired four shots into the ground. In addition to the two women who had approached the residence, there were two women and a boy in their vehicle.
As a result of this incident, the 59-year-old Pennsylvania man is facing charges of aggravated assault and five counts of reckless and terroristic endangerment. He was arrested and taken to the county jail, where he was later released on bail.
He noted that his residence had a private property sign and was upset that the group ignored the notice and did not leave quickly enough. “What gives them the right to come on my property?” He asked. “When you say leave they should leave.” The man also disputes the police version of events and says he never shot at the group.
Source: The Morning Call, “Monroe man charged with shooting rifle near Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Tyrone Richardson, 5/1/2011