GOV. RENDELL COULD soon have the legal right to arm himself, stand outside the Capitol building, and start shooting approaching lawmakers.

Of course he shouldn't . . . but he could, if he signed a ridiculous gun bill that landed on his desk last week. The bill would broaden the "castle doctrine," which empowers people to defend their homes with deadly force. Now, people who feel threatened in their offices or even their cars can shoot first, and ask questions later. (And yes, Rendell would have to feel threatened in order to shoot, but we think that wouldn't be difficult.)

We join the many law-enforcement groups who oppose this bill. Those groups oppose it because they see the potential for criminals to get away with murder by claiming, for example, that they shot from their car in self-defense. We don't even want to contemplate how this would affect road-rage cases.

In Pennsylvania, people can now bring guns into state parks, and can get a license in another state if their Pennsylvania criminal record prohibits them from getting one here.

Expanding these rights even further - for visitors and residents - is a bad idea. In fact, it's downright threatening. *