Farmers and ranchers in Texas would be permitted to use deadly force against intruders under legislation filed this week by a Republican member of the Texas House.

State Rep. J.M. Lozano (R–Kingsville) filed House Bill 3605 to secure Texans’ rights as landowners to protect their agricultural land from intruders in whatever means necessary, including lethal force. His measure comes in response to the worsening border crisis.

Landowners along the border have seen an increase in illegal aliens trespassing on their land as they cross into the United States.

Though landowners have been doing what they can to protect their property from illegal aliens and other trespassers, the arrest of an Arizona rancher has Texans concerned.

The 73-year-old rancher was arrested for first-degree murder after he fatally shot an illegal alien for trespassing on his land. While Arizona law allows landowners to use gunshots as a form of warning to intruders, they are not allowed to use deadly force to protect themselves unless the intruder is harming them physically.

Despite the rancher’s claims that he believed shots fired were at him as well, he was arrested and is being held on a $1 million bond.

Now, landowners across the United States who live near the Mexico border are concerned about their right to protect their land.

Lozano’s legislation would protect Texas landowners from a situation like the one in Arizona.

According to Lozano’s legislation, if an intruder is interfering with a landowner or their property and uses deadly conduct (the use or brandishing of a weapon), the landowner is justified in using force or deadly force against the intruder to protect their agricultural land.

The legislation clarifies that the only other acceptable cause for the use of force or deadly force by a landowner is if they believe it is immediately necessary to protect their land from unlawful interference.

As the legislative session advances, citizens who might be impacted by illegal aliens trespassing on their land, or citizens who have experience with the issue, should contact the legislation’s author or their own lawmaker.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.