JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Castle Doctrine or the so-called "stand your ground" law is a doctrine that allows homeowners to protect themselves in potentially deadly situations. Over 30 states have a version of stand your ground laws, including Mississippi.
Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge spoke to WDAM about the law and the facts behind it.
"97-3-15 in the Mississippi code covers a lot of things," Hodge said. "It gives citizens the right to defend themselves. The law specifically says, 'imminent or immediate danger'. That means that it's a real and present danger that you've identified."
While the law is in place to protect homeowners, businesses and drivers, Hodge said it's important to identify the threat before taking action.
"A lot of people hear things and call us and say, 'Hey, I have a gun,'" Hodge said. Prior to us arriving to the scene, we will ask you to disarm so we can come in and safely assess exactly what's going on in your house and in your business."
Hodge stressed the importance of being responsible with your firearm.
"We responded last week to a burglary in progress," Hodge said. "The 'burglar' ended up being the woman's husband. Maybe someone comes home unexpected and you misidentify the target. Certainly, you don't want to take the life of anyone, much less a family member."
Sheriff Hodge encourages residents to learn more about the law.
"What we encourage folks to do is be prepared, get self-defense training," Hodge said. "Do whatever you need to do, we just want you to be safe."
The Jones county sheriff's department works to educate residents on how to identify a threat just in case something unfortunate happens.
"We do a lot of events across the county where we promote and educate or citizens so they can be ready for times where home safety is concerned," Hodge said. "The Castle Doctrine was put in place for that very reason."