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Pants on Fire goes to claims rated false and ridiculous. Pants on Fire goes to claims rated false and ridiculous.

Pants on Fire goes to claims rated false and ridiculous.

Monique Curet
By Monique Curet December 10, 2020

Comments about Texas’ castle doctrine law were satire, not from state rep

If Your Time is short

• Texas state Rep. Terry Meza introduced HB 196 that would modify, but not repeal, the state’s “castle doctrine,” which allows the use of deadly force to protect property.

• Comments about the legislation attributed to Meza appear to have been taken from a story that was labeled “semi-satire” and written by a political satirist. 

• Meza has said that her legislation is intended to “require a homeowner to exhaust the potential of safely retreating into their habitation before using deadly force in defense of themselves or their property.”

Texas legislator Terry Meza sparked a backlash when she proposed changes to the state’s "castle doctrine," which allows the use of deadly force to protect property.

But some of the blowback is based on comments attributed to Meza that she did not say. The quotes appear to have been fabricated, taken from a story labeled "semi-satire" and written by a political satirist. 

The fake quotes took on a life of their own on Facebook, in posts like this one that claim Meza said, "Thieves only carry weapons for self-protection and to provide the householder an incentive to cooperate. They just want to get their loot and get away. When the resident tries to resist is when people get hurt. If only one side is armed fewer people will be killed. ...In most instances the thief needs the money more than the homeowner does. …On balance, the transfer of property is likely to lead to a more equitable distribution of wealth. If my bill can help make this transfer a peaceful one so much the better." 

The claim was repeated across Facebook in posts like this and this

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Meza, a Democrat, was elected to represent Texas’s District 105 in Dallas County in November 2018, when the county's delegation changed from seven Democrats and seven Republicans to 12 Democrats and two Republicans.

In November 2019, she introduced HB196 to modify the castle doctrine. Even before the fabricated quotes were published in early December, she said on Twitter on Nov. 20 that the bill had been "misrepresented in the news."

Her tweet said the bill "does not repeal the Castle Doctrine, and it does not restrict homeowners from using firearms in self-defense as applicable to current Texas stand your ground laws." She said the legislation is intended to require a homeowner to exhaust the potential of safely retreating into their habitation before using deadly force in defense of themselves or their property, and that she believes the current law "emboldens people to people to take justice into their own hands." 

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She continued, "While theft is obviously wrong, we have laws to address that. I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death."

Last week, a website called GOP Briefing Room posted about HB196 in a feature called "semi-news/semi-satire," saying the bill would outlaw the castle doctrine and adding comments attributed to Meza. The feature included real news stories from states across the country but added fabricated quotes and other false information. The author lists his occupation as political satirist. 

PolitiFact could not locate any published evidence that Meza actually said the comments that were attributed to her. 

On Dec. 9, following publication of the satire feature, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott retweeted Meza’s Nov. 20 tweet about HB196 and added this comment: "Let me be clear. The Castle Doctrine will not be reduced. We won’t force Texas homeowners to retreat. Especially with the crazy ‘defund police’ ideas, homeowners need to protect themselves now more than ever. We will protect 2nd Amendment rights."

We contacted Meza and the author of the GOP Briefing Room story for comment but did not receive a reply. 

Our Ruling

Facebook posts claim that Texas Rep. Terry Meza said, "Thieves only carry weapons for self-protection and to provide the householder an incentive to cooperate. They just want to get their loot and get away. When the resident tries to resist is when people get hurt. If only one side is armed fewer people will be killed. ...In most instances the thief needs the money more than the homeowner does. …On balance, the transfer of property is likely to lead to a more equitable distribution of wealth. If my bill can help make this transfer a peaceful one so much the better." 

The comments are part of a story labeled "semi-satire" that was written by someone who is a political satirist, and there is no evidence that Meza said anything similar. 

We rate this claim Pants on Fire. 

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Comments about Texas’ castle doctrine law were satire, not from state rep

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