Deadly Force in the Protection of Property – A Very Risky Business

“Hell yes! I worked hard for my property. You try to take it away from me, you deserve to die, and I’m just the guy who’ll do it!”

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The decision to use deadly force to protect personal property involves the question of whether deadly force “may” be used, but equally important, whether it “should” be used. One is clearly a legal question. The other is a moral question and, perhaps more importantly, a practical question, one that you should not be in a hurry to answer. First, it is very important to understand that the laws providing the legal right to use deadly force vary greatly from state to state.

DEADLY FORCE LAWS BY STATE

In Texas, deadly force may be used to protect property from criminal activity or to prevent a fleeing felon from making off with property, but only if the property owner “reasonably believes” the property cannot be protected by any other means, or attempted recovery would subject the owner to the risk of death or serious injury. So you can legally use deadly force to protect property, right? Maybe, maybe not, please read on.

In Georgia, deadly force cannot be used to protect property unless the owner “reasonably believes” it is necessary to prevent a “forcible felony,” a term with a very specific definition including, but not limited to, physical force or violence against a person, including murder, burglary, robbery, kidnapping, or rape. Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania use similar language, as do other states. But the crimes included in the definition of a “forcible felony” can vary significantly from state to state. Florida includes car jackings, and Illinois includes residential burglary. In Pennsylvania, the term only refers to crimes capable of causing death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping, or forceful rape. In Iowa, it includes human trafficking. The statutory law dealing with the use of deadly force in the protection of property varies significantly from state to state.

In Minnesota, deadly force is authorized in the face of an immediate threat of death or crippling injury, or to prevent the commission of a felony “in the actor’s place of abode.” Seems straightforward, but it is not. The Minnesota appellate courts have interpreted this language to mean that deadly force in “defense of a dwelling” must meet three criteria: (1) the belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent the commission of a felony in the dwelling; (2) the person’s judgment as to the gravity of the situation was “reasonable” under the circumstances; and (3) a “reasonable person” would have done the same thing under the same circumstances.

“REASONABLE” BELIEF

Note the repeated use of the terms “reasonable” or “reasonably.” Who decides whether you “reasonably believed” deadly force was necessary, or that deadly force in a specific instance was reasonable? Juries decide those questions in the course of a trial in which a prosecutor may have charged you with crimes ranging from simple assault to first-degree murder. Do you get to tell them your belief was reasonable? No. You can tell them “what” you believed, but whether your belief was a “reasonable belief” is left to the jury to decide. What about your self-defense trainer? Can he or she tell them your belief was reasonable? No, courts have uniformly ruled that such statements “invade the province of the jury.” Are you beginning to see the problem?

The lesson to be learned here is this: When you are dealing with legal issues, and you see the word “reasonable,” think jury, lawyers, attorney fees, and time away from work with the possibility of conviction and loss of freedom for a significant period of time.

Some states by statute make it clear that deadly force cannot be used in defense of property. In Tennessee, the law states that “Unless a person is justified in using deadly force as otherwise provided by law, a person is not justified in using deadly force to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on real estate or unlawful interference with personal property.” Arizona, Iowa, and Utah law on the subject is similar. In Massachusetts, the deadly force statute specifically excludes defense of property and requires that a person defending their home have a reasonable belief that the intruder is about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon someone and that deadly force was the only reasonable means of defense. This is true in a number of other states as well.

Most states have a definition in their laws for what constitutes a justifiable use of deadly force. The usual standard is that the person using lethal force has to have a “reasonable” expectation of either death or grave injury to themselves or someone else if they don’t act. That doesn’t include property; it must be a threat to life or limb, or else it isn’t legal. Washington state law authorizes deadly force “when there is ‘reasonable ground’ to believe another intends to commit an immediate felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to some other person.” There’s that term “reasonable” again.

CASTLE DOCTRINE

Well, what about “castle doctrine,” you might ask. The “castle doctrine” relates to only one issue. Do you have a duty to retreat before using deadly force in your own home? That’s it, nothing more. It does not authorize the use of deadly force, and it can’t, because that is done by statute. The castle doctrine is a non-statutory legal principle that courts employ to answer one question: Did the actor have a duty to retreat or not? If the state follows the castle doctrine, and most do, then within your own home (or “castle”), you have no duty to retreat. But your use of deadly force must still meet the statutory test.

At the same time that you are dealing with the statutory law of a state, think about this. Not only do deadly force laws vary from state to state, but so also do how law-enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, and the courts interpret those statutes, even within a given state.

CASES IN POINT

In 2007, a Pasadena, Texas man was subjected to a grand jury review of his fatal shooting of two attempted burglars at his neighbor’s home. The shooting occurred while a law-enforcement dispatcher was on the phone telling him not to interfere with the burglars, as officers had been dispatched. He shot them both anyway because they were “getting away.” The prosecutor convened a grand jury, which refused to indict the man for murder, and no other charges were filed.

In Spokane, Washington in 2013, a man who shot and killed a car thief driving away in the stolen vehicle was charged with first-degree manslaughter. A year later, the shooter was acquitted of the criminal charges, and a Washington jury found that his actions were also justifiable, requiring the state to compensate him for a reported $300,000 in legal bills.

In contrast, in July 2016, an armed customer opened fire on a Spokane Valley bank robber in the middle of a robbery at a credit union. The bank robber was not threatening the customer directly, but he was committing an armed crime. The robber was shot and wounded and later apprehended. The prosecutor, after reviewing the situation, declined to charge the citizen who wounded the robber.

In 2015, an Ohio man shot at two fleeing burglars in his yard, killing one. He was charged with manslaughter, convicted and, in 2017, sentenced to serve six years in prison.

In 2017, a Minnesota man who surprised three men attempting to burglarize his isolated country home was charged with second-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting the driver of a car that attempted to run him over in his own driveway. The manslaughter charge was eventually dismissed, and the homeowner entered a plea to a felony charge of reckless discharge of a firearm.

USE DEADLY FORCE ONLY WHEN YOU MUST

Literally dozens of such stories are popping up all over the country. How do we reconcile the different outcomes? We cannot, because they are the subject of the exercise of human discretion and judgment. That makes the outcome unpredictable because each incident is driven by facts unique to that case. I have included a small sampling to illustrate the point.

Deadly force is a justification for what would otherwise be a crime: the taking of a human life or causing some grievous bodily injury. As such, it should be reserved for “must” situations, where life or serious injury are being threatened, and not employed in “can” situations. In self-defense incidents, experienced trainers as well as experienced self-defense attorneys will tell you, there will be two fights. The first is the fight to preserve your life or the life of someone close to you. The second, longer, more protracted, and much more expensive one may very well be the fight for your future. Deciding to wage either of those fights over easily replaceable property is not a wise investment of time, energy, or money.

Discussion
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62 Responses to “Deadly Force in the Protection of Property – A Very Risky Business”
  1. Jon P Harris

    How about shooting a person committing the above instances BUT only to stop a crime such as stealing or breaking into house by shooting a non lethal area such as legs or shoulder

    Reply
    • Scott

      The thighs have the femoral artery. Death in two minutes without intervention. Popliteal artery is behind the knee death in 3-5 minutes. The shoulder has the subclavian artery that turns into the brachial artery at the bicep. Death is again imminent. There is no such thing as a less lethal GSW just slow death vs quick death vs very lucky to be alive.

      Reply
    • mattblum

      There are really few places (read none) that are safe to shoot on the human body. There are big veins and arteries in the limbs. There are vital organs in the torso. Breaking a bone can lead to severe blood loss. The myth that you can safely shoot someone in a limb is just that. Perpetuated by idiot hollywood screen writers to the current day. It’s just not so.

      Reply
  2. drawandfire

    Is threatening deadly force by pointing a firearm at a burglar(s) to frighten them away but not actually shooting considered using deadly force to protect property?

    Reply
    • Rob Pincus

      Yes… and it’s recklessly foolish. Generally, “Don’t point guns at people you aren’t actually going to shoot” is a really good idea. You should never count on intimidating someone with a firearm. While the presentation of a gun as you are considering whether or not you are going to have to shoot someone MIGHT cause them to stop what they are doing or not “Cross the Line”, you should never expect that.

      Reply
      • Steven M. Harris, Esq.

        Gun pointing without actual discharge is dependent on state statute or case law; it is likely nondeadly force. In some states it may specifically the threatening of deadly force, or specifically treated by a brandishing and/or self-defense statute.

        Reply
  3. John Decker

    This is a case of the people making the laws never having to live by them. I can agree that property crime, as much as it may gall some people, is not justification for taking a life. I live with three dogs who are all sweethearts, but if they hear someone enter after “lights out”, they will carry on enough to wake the dead. I think a potential robber who hears that bedlam and ENTERS THE HOUSE REGARDLESS, is not just a robber, but one that is willing to hurt someone. Law or no law, in that situation I will protect myself at any cost. The police will find an upset homeowner and a dead criminal. If the robber acted like 95% of our law abiding citizens, he would have been sitting home watching TV, not breaking into a private dwelling to commit a crime. Between jail or staying alive I’ll pick alive every time. And if by chance I am ever chosen for jury duty on a similar case, I absolutely guarantee the homeowner will go free.

    Reply
  4. Bryan Donaldson

    Why is the law so different from state to state. The crime is the same. Someone breaks in and plans to rob you and you fear for your life because you don’t know what there intentions are while they are robbing you. It could be to simply flee after they have stolen what they have come to steal or they will kill you because they didn’t find what they were looking for and can’t leave any witnesses. In both cases they are felonies in my understanding and both would be met with deadly force. So I saw why are states different on what they call reasonably. Just doesn’t make sense. You come in my house in the middle of the night and you will leave with several more holes than you came in with.

    Reply
    • JOSHUA

      Because we our a country with 50 different “laboratories. Each populace elects representatives to enact laws based on their morals, situations, and histories. We’re actually lucky to live in such an environment. Last thing we want or need is a one law fits all federal system.

      Reply
  5. rottenrollin

    Shoot them, recover your property, take them out for an improper burying or find some hungry hogs.

    If only it was so easy, eh?

    Reply
  6. Richard

    According to advice I’ve received from local police and a program here in Texas standard of justified use of force is fear of grievous bodily injury or death to protect self or another and also includes kidnapping and rape. Unless statutes have changed, use of force for protection of properly is only justified at night, otherwise it is not at least by a private citizen.

    Reply
        • Phil Brown

          Texas Penal Code – PENAL § 9.42. Deadly Force to Protect Property

          A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:

          (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41 ;  and

          (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

          (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime;  or

          (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property;  and

          (3) he reasonably believes that:

          (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means;  or

          (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

          Section 9.41

          (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.

          (b) A person unlawfully dispossessed of land or tangible, movable property by another is justified in using force against the other when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to reenter the land or recover the property if the actor uses the force immediately or in fresh pursuit after the dispossession and:

          (1) the actor reasonably believes the other had no claim of right when he dispossessed the actor;  or

          (2) the other accomplished the dispossession by using force, threat, or fraud against the actor.

          Reply
    • Aaron Israel

      Having taught CHL in Texas for many years, that is a common refrain from almost every licensing instructor I’ve met, and they are all mistaken. The state of Texas makes allowances for use of deadly force after dark in the black letter law, but that has nothing to do with what you “ought to do”. Proving your justification in court is not so black and white and none of those instructors or cops are going to come to your defense when you are in front of the grand jury. A pure reading of the black letter law could lead you to justification for shooting teenagers who TP or egg your house after dark (criminal mischief at night). But what SHOULD you do in that situation.. Can vs. Should.. Always go with should.. Unfortunately, the state licensing class doesn’t do a good job of dissecting the application of the law, which is why its sad that most people stop their legal education at that level. It leads to comments like this…

      Reply
  7. Ron Halfhill

    The key component in all of these scenarios, it seems to me, is the jury. A jury’s verdict is unpredictable at best. I know someone who was convicted in a civil wrongful death case by a jury after the ‘victim”, after having tried and failed to kill himself twice before he finally succeeded the third time. He had never seen the defendant, never met the defendant, but was visiting a tenant in a building the defendant managed. He was a drug addict and went to the hospital following a visit to that building, and was left alone long enough to disconnect his intravenous feeding tube and kill himself. The district attorney refused to bring any criminal charges against the defendant or anyone else in the death of this derelict of a person. But the civil case jury explained that the owner of the building had sufficient insurance that they thought the dead man’s family could score a large award, even though the family and the dead man had been estranged before the incident because of his drug habit. Go figure. FWIW, the incident and the civil case was in San Francisco, one of the blue-est states in the Union.

    Reply
  8. RDBAL

    Minnesota – not a good state to live in. The man saved his life and was “made” to admit
    reckless discharge of a firearm. Why? It was not reckless; he shot at the driver who was about to run him over. Must have been a liberal, anti-2A DA. What a miscarriage of justice! It seems we are getting more like Great Britain more and more.

    Reply
  9. Joe H

    Been through many of these situations. The general rule is if they don’t engage don’t pull the trigger. Believe it makes you mad when someone tries to take your property. One night we had a car pull in and turn around at the house. The driver had just let two people out. After that, the driver pulled to the front house, stopped, and kept the engine running with the lights off. The other two made an attempt on the back door. I caught them on the side of the house. They decided to run in different directions. Since the driver was not aware I was outside, I approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. The driver was still not aware I was standing. I just shook my head and lowered my weapon. Called the sheriffs department from a safe distance. It was with minutes they blocked the lane and took him into custody. By the time daylight came, the other two were custody. Not a shot fired.

    Reply
  10. Paul T

    I was just discussing this with a friend considering conceal carry. With all the considerations its almost overwhelming. There is a lot of information to consider in a very very short time as well as strategy if desiding to act.

    Reply
  11. Steve Dorman

    Whatever item of personal property is being stolen, represents a part of my life. All I have in this life is my time….my time equals my life.
    And when I spent a part of that finite amount of time/life to acquire a car or a television, I will defend that part of my life that a thief wishes to
    steal. And a side benefit is the message it sends to other would be thieves.

    Reply
    • Rob Pincus

      Negative. You have missed the point of the article… It’s just stuff. Protect your stuff with locks, doors, cameras, alarms and your security behavior.

      Reply
    • David B

      Just don’t defend it with lethal force. If you go to prison you’ll be spending more time there than it ever took you to acquire a car or television. If you don’t go to prison you still be spending a lot more of your finite time paying off the legal fees than the car or television. And even if your legal fees are paid for, what’s your emotional stress worth? Insure your car and television–that’s the safer solution.

      Reply
    • mattblum

      You are worried about a part of your life? You will lose far more of your life if that attitude becomes action. Time in court. Expenses. Possible time in prison. Think about it.

      Reply
  12. Steve Dorman

    Whatever item of personal property is being stolen, represents a part of my life. All I have in this life is my time….my time equals my life.
    And when I spent a part of that finite amount of time/life to acquire a car or a television, I will defend that part of my life that a thief wishes to
    steal. And a side benefit is the message it sends to other would be thieves. The thief has made his decision…..and now, it’s my turn.

    Reply
  13. Lance

    There goes the second amendment..You almost can not do anything with out being charged for it…How about brandishing to deter the dirtbag….bet they charge you for something just for showing the dirt bag you have a gun…

    Reply
  14. Glen Terry

    In Calif, if someone has broken into your home while your home , had a weapon in hands and you fear for your life, are the Courts going to put the home owner in jail for protecting themselves.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Glen. Here at PDN we don’t provide legal advice and leave that to practicing lawyers. Also, there really is no way to know what is going to happen in a court case and another reason why lethal force should be considered a last option regardless of state law.
      Thanks
      Deryck-PDN

      Reply
  15. Damion Miller

    What is the approach in new York? Especially with the anti-gun climate

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Damion. Here at PDN we leave the legal advice to practicing attorneys. There are so many laws that vary from state to state the best option is seeking out a lawyer who specializes or has a deep understanding of personal defense as it applies to the laws of your state.
      Thanks
      Deryck-PDN

      Reply
  16. Jimme

    As God stated. And it clearly shows. Man cannot govern man. They cannot even get on board when all a person wants to do is live their life in peace. But. The contents of this article does not surprise me.

    Reply
  17. Hansel Bumgarner

    Don’t try it here in North Carolina. It is illegal to use deadly force for protection of property.

    Reply
    • Brian Fistler

      True, but here in NC, we CAN (legally) shoot someone trying to break into our house, THROUGH a locked door. We do not have to wait until the threat has made entrance into our domicile, and therefore possibly increasing risk to ourselves by allowing the intruder to first gain access.

      Reply
  18. CHARLES CLEMMER SR.

    I LIVE IN GASTON COUNTY,STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA , WHAT ABOUT THE LAW?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Charles. Here at PDN we leave the legal advice to practicing attorneys. There are so many laws that vary from state to state the best option is seeking out a lawyer who specializes or has a deep understanding of personal defense as it applies to the laws of your state.
      Thanks
      Deryck-PDN

      Reply
  19. Freddy

    “Deadly force is a justification for what would otherwise be a crime”
    Better put, “Deadly force is a justification for what IS a crime.”
    In PA, it’s always a crime (at minimum, felony voluntary manslaughter) to kill another human being. The legal issue is, was it justified, and therefore, not in the interest of justice to prosecute?
    This is what being “not guilty” is all about. If you justifiably kill another human being you are not innocent of manslaughter. You still committed felony voluntary manslaughter. But you may be found “not guilty” by virtue of having acted “reasonably”.

    Reply
  20. Tim Smith

    Property is just that, things that can be replaced 99.999% of the time. Just remember, pulling that trigger and hitting the purp, will cost you 300 – 500K and change your life forever. Is any property worth that? Legal or not, it’s a bad, and costly decision to pull that trigger.

    Reply
  21. james alexander

    This was a very well wrote article. Being a retired State Police Sergeant, people do not understand they can not shoot someone for stealing their property. Mostly their cars, out of their driveways or garages. That is one problem with long guns. They want to stop the bad guys, but once they are moving away from them. They should not shoot but they still can take a shot with a long gun! Only bad things happen when they take that shot. If they hit the vehicle and kill someone, jail time is awaiting them. So keep pushing them to NOT TAKE THAT SHOT! It will hopefully keep some of the good guys out of jail. Have a great day! I also retired as a USMC Master sergeant and Vietnam Vet.

    Reply
  22. Thomas McIndoe

    One thing I have observed about street gangs. They are not constrained by all of the bullshit laws,legalities, and “Personal Defense” Network disclaimers, as we law abiding citizens, to protect oneself. They take care of business. Citizen preparation , I have come to believe is a waste of time. PDN suggest carry on a dialogue with a felon, hoping, de-escalation will happen.. As in a school shooter, I guess. “Don’t stop them with your firearm, you might be judged as too aggressive. Just run, right? what do you say? PDN. In California it takes years to get a CCW permit, if at all.

    Reply
    • Rob Pincus

      Not sure what you are referencing, Thomas. Where was “carry on a dialogue” recommended?
      There are some parts of CA where getting a CCW Permit is a very simple and relatively fast process, not one that takes years.
      We have an extensive amount of information about Active Shooter Response, use the search bar!

      Reply
  23. Dan

    In Minnesota if you had a intruder that was armed break in to your home to rob you or threatened your family harm while robbing you then what about use of deadly force?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Dan. Here at PDN we leave the legal advice to practicing attorneys. There are so many laws that vary from state to state the best option is seeking out a lawyer who specializes or has a deep understanding of personal defense as it applies to the laws of your state.
      Thanks
      Deryck-PDN

      Reply
    • Rob Pincus

      Did you read the Article, Dan? The answer is in there… You can also research the “Should versus Could” concept.

      Reply
  24. Gary Tuckey

    My question is that if either in your own home, or on the street, an attacker exposes a weapon, are you then legally able to shoot?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Gary. Here at PDN we leave the legal advice to practicing attorneys. There are so many laws that vary from state to state the best option is seeking out a lawyer who specializes or has a deep understanding of personal defense as it applies to the laws of your state. That said, just because something may be legal doesn’t mean it is the correct response. Lethal force, regardless of the law should be a last resort and only in the defense of life.
      Thanks
      Deryck-PDN

      Reply
  25. Stone

    Having lived in lived or spent time in over 12 states, all I know is you need to consider things like Castle Doctrine & Stand Your Ground laws if your CCDW allows you to carry in those states and you choose to do so. Something as simple is can I defend a hotel or apartment I am living in from invasion varies and he only thing worse than being dead or losing a family member is the possibility of the legal aftermath that could occur. What are the odds of getting a just of your peers? Or finding a judge that is neutral or leans favorably to defending oneself with a firearm?

    Reply
  26. Steven M. Harris, Esq.

    A very important aspect in any discussion of employing force in “defense of property” is to understand that, almost universally, opposing a crime of robbery or occupied home (as may be expanded by statutory “Castle” expansion, to business, vehicle, etc.) invasion/burglary is NOT the defense of property. Either in law, or for the planning of the best “tactical” response or viability of retreat. Unlike the mere “defense of property,” in such serious criminal incidents, the MAY, SHOULD, and MUST often suggest/demand deadly not nondeadly force.

    Reply
  27. Thomas Aldridge

    The Main Point here is that it is Never good to use deadly force to stop a robbery. Stolen property is Never worth a life. Don’t do it! It’s not a matter of “can you shoot” but “should you shoot” and the answer is always no we should not. Our future lives free of much hassle depend on doing the right thing.

    Reply
    • Claude

      There’s a huge difference between robbery and theft/burglary. It’s unwise to use deadly force to stop theft/burglary. It’s equally unwise to say ‘don’t use deadly force to stop a robbery.’ By definition, robberies involve some level of force by the criminal, frequently deadly force. In some cases, countering with deadly force is both appropriate and necessary.

      Reply
  28. Greg Fishback

    All I can say is “shark tank”. For those of you who are not familiar with that particular euphemism, it states that if what you are protecting fell into a tank of hungry sharks, would you go in after it?? Family, of course, flat screen?? Not likely. If you’re not prepared to suffer the consequences of “sharks” and insert who you think that applies to, then don’t pull the trigger. There is NO WAY that your life won’t be completely altered and more than likely destroyed should you ever have to take the life of another whether it is justified or not. Study, practice and drill your line in the sand because god forbid that time should come, you won’t have time to think about the options.

    Reply
      • Dale Patterson

        A ways back, someone asked why so many differences between state laws. The simple answer is because they are different states and there is a thing called the 10th amendment. The feds have crossed that line many times but lets not invite them to cross this one too. Annoying as it may be, we just have to inform ourselves on the laws of states we will visit.

        Reply
  29. Gary Shade

    In MN we also have a statute 609.06 which gives a person the right to use REASONABLE (not lethal) force to prevent an illegal trespass against themselves or another or their or another’s personal or real property. You don’t have to let someone leave your home with your TV, you can pepper spray them, tazer them, stun gun them, use empty hand techniques to prevent the theft of your property. You can not use lethal force as Rob pointed out in the article.

    609.065 even states that nothing in 609.06 authorizes the use of deadly force unless you or another are immediate fear of great bodily harm or death. Or to prevent the commission of a felony in your place of abode (home).

    And as Rob pointed out your actions have to be reasonable given the circumstances and be what a “reasonable” person would do given the gravity of the situation.

    Those are jury instructions. 609.065 is an affirmative defense meaning the prosecution must disprove you acted in self defense of yourself or another or disprove you acted reasonably to stop a felony in your own home.

    This is a good discussion on the repercussions of defending property. If you do it incorrectly, you get to spend some time in lockup. Not good.

    It’s also cheaper to replace STUFF than it is to hire a lawyer.

    Reply
  30. Gary Tuckey

    I am convinced that this topic should be a mandatory part of any type of training for a CCP.

    Reply
  31. george clark jr.

    growing up in maine, two tools are introduced at an early age,a chainsaw and firearm. after reading article and responses, i’m still confused. i know i would never want to be put in the position of having to take a life. i ask myself, but what if? i know anyone i know or associate with ask the same. i guess what i’m saying, from what i read, if my confusion bothers me now i don’t want to face a decision from the court.to steal from me is to take food off my table or clothes off my back. both threaten my existance.

    Reply
    • STANLEY

      Very good. This comports with other training I’ve received. I don’t recall any info though on changing presentation to the target such as this ambush method. Brilliant! It seems being oriented on your back this way may keep a defender from ending on his back the other way. Very useful information. Thanks Matt! And thanks to all you vets. I’m very proud of you G.I.’s. Like the police force in America, you guys are the best on the planet.

      Reply
  32. STANLEY

    Thanks for the article. I know of Jim via my ACLDN membership. As a new gun owner and recent obtainer of CCL, one thing I realized real fast about it all was that I just took on a hell of a lot of legal jeopardy and added responsibility. As attorney Branca states it (paraphrased) “When you engage in the use of force with another you’ve increased to greater than zero your risk of death and/or life in prison.” Property isn’t worth the risk of losing your freedom or life. People really need to get not only arms and defense training they should get legal training as well so they they know the legal boundaries. I’m doing all that as best I can. That’s why I joined PDN amongst other sites. As a gun owner, I want all the information I can get from all the most reliable sources. Thanks again.

    Reply
  33. George P

    Being careful not to discount everyone’s opinion (because many are based on real life experience) – I am failing to really understand the debate here. (The paragraphs below do not take into account the use of drugs or alcohol which are known to affect the proper judgement of either party. The same also do not take into account the sometimes present multiple assailants.)

    We all have the right to protect our property regardless of the state in which reside. That said, use of deadly force is only for protecting life and not property. If it is known or expected that you undoubtedly face bodily harm or death by intervening (Example: the property owner going to the perp) and you are forced to use deadly force then it can be said that, and often is, that you aggravated and provoked the situation. These situations usually involve brandishing of a weapon on approach of the perp. Example: Someone stealing a car in a driveway and and someone exits the home with a gun or a baseball bat visibly in hand that is usually construed as using a gun or other weapon to protect property. (Remember, a good lawyer can make grandma with a rolling pin look like Ma’ Barker).

    Now if a person sees someone trying to steal their car and approaches the perp and there is no brandishing to aggravate and the perp’s reaction is to actually attempt (key word) to cause permanent bodily harm that may even lead to death rather than fleeing then it is often considered reasonable to use deadly force.

    Now if a perp is physically approaching someone to steal their car or attempting to enter one’s home AND in the process of the action threatens or attempts to cause permanent bodily harm or death then it is usually reasonable to use deadly force, especially when dark because it cannot be seen if the perp is armed. Elderly people, women, and children have a greater expectation of fear due to less physical strength. (Last statement has been proven, tried, and accepted by most.)

    Just getting pushed away or to the ground is not in itself a reasonable justification to use deadly force unless the perp continues the attack.

    The key is unprovoked attack on one’s self or another human being which includes someone comitting a crime while pointing a gun at someone (or a knife, or any other weapon that can cause permanent harm or death).

    Any perp that is moving away from innocent person’s direction is considered to not be threat unless that perp is shooting or using deadly force.

    The general rule that we teach is that if one and all innocent people can walk away without harm then do so but if it is NOT then it is “usually” reasonable to use deadly force. (The word “usually” is used as juries are unpredictable and there is always that small chance of conviction).

    To qualify what I have stated above:

    I have been in physical altercations while armed and because there was no fear of the loss of life or permanent injury my gun never came into play. I have also intervened to prevent bodily harm and even given chase to create distance between perp and victim but also stopped when perp was no longer close enough to harm and yet never fired a shot because perp was retreating. I have also been approached with deadly force with no reasonable ability to retreat and had to deal with it accordingly (Stand your ground).

    This is where the education from trainers and people such as Rob is very important and keeping up with the forever changing laws. It develops the proper mindset. Using deadly force always has implications. Even if not legal implications, mental implications for sure as it will without question change a person forever.

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    • STANLEY

      From my studies and IMO, one thing that I would suggest to all gun owners and concealed carriers is to acquaint themselves with the five elements of a lawful use of force in self-defense. They are innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance and reasonablenss. Any one element missing or disproven and the shooter claiming self-defense is looking at bathing in a lot of legal hot water and serious prison time, not to mention the costs involved. Hard stand your ground states eliminate the requirement of avoidance but the other elements are still required.

      Do a google search of it. You’ll only benefit. Attorney Andrew Branca explains with clarity and teaches the five elements along with defense of property laws, defense of person, etc., at his Law of Self Defense website. I can’t emphasize enough how important the education he provides is to all gun owners and concealed carriers. To me it was well worth the minimal cost he charged for his classes. Knowledge is power.

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