Harrisburg lawmakers have sent a bad bill to Gov. Rendell. The legislation would make the streets of cities and other communities across the state more dangerous by allowing gun owners to blast away if they feel threatened outside their home or even in their car.

Rendell should veto the measure.

The legislation would expand the "castle doctrine," which enables gun owners to use their weapons in defense within their loosely defined home, or "castle."

Under current law, a homeowner has all the legal protection he or she needs to defend against an intruder inside a home. This expansion of the rule is unnecessary, except to check off an item on the National Rifle Association's agenda.

Beyond the prospect of road-rage incidents turning into deadly confrontations, prosecutors fear that anyone who fires a weapon in such circumstances could make a claim of self-defense. Even if the other person was unarmed, a shooter could claim that he felt his safety was threatened within his "castle."

After House members earlier approved a version of this bill, the Senate tacked it onto an unrelated measure that would expand the state's law aimed at protecting children from sex offenders.

Rendell shouldn't give in to such tactics. If the proposal to strengthen the Megan's Law statute is worthwhile, it can be reintroduced in a matter of months. For now, the governor should use his veto to lay siege to this expansion of the castle doctrine.