Rob Pincus

When Is Deadly Force Justified in Home Defense?

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   4  mins

“Can I use lethal force to defend myself?” or “When is deadly force justified?” are questions Rob Pincus is often asked. Rob encourages everyone to know the laws in their jurisdiction regarding owning firearms, having them in the home and carrying them in public. But at the moment when faced with a lethal threat, the pertinent questions are, “Should I use lethal force to defend myself? Or should I try to escape the threat?”

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25 Responses to “When Is Deadly Force Justified in Home Defense?”

  1. Scott G. Nelson

    I think this video is important for people to understand. Anyone who has taken a firearms carry permit class will hear exactly what you are saying. You should have your options thought out ahead of time. Have your family action plan in place so that they understand what to do in case there is a break-in or attempted break-in. Have a safe word so that all family members can identify themselves if they are not where they may normally be. Such as in bed during the night. One question I have is an important one. What if you, the person who has the firearm and is defending the family, cannot "run" or even move quickly. Such as a person with physical handicaps, injuries, etc.? If a person uses deadly force in a situation where they "should" try to run or escape, but cant', the police may look at them and assume that they "chose" not to escape. Personally, I know many "normal" looking people who can't move very well. Some are over weight and out of shape. Others have medical issues. What is your advise regarding these examples. I live in Maryland and the laws here are very confusing. Thanks for the videos. Keep them coming. Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert knowledge. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hundreds of hours of Premium content. If you are interested in becoming a member, please click on the offer below: Thanks!

  2. TumblerSnapper

    Just because you shoot somebody does NOT MEAN that you have to Kill them. What's wrong with the notion of just " winging " the Perpetrator with shooting them in the foot or arm ??? And if they keep on coming after that than you shoot to to Kill ?

  3. Craig King

    Excellent piece. It points out the difference between the legal consideration and the moral responsibility. In the firearms community we focus a lot on what is legal. I don't know if I have ever been in a class where they spoke about the moral obligation that we have. I have been considering writing something on this as I think that I am in a unique place having some NRA certifications and a good amount of training and having a MA in Moral Theology. It's something i put a lot of time into considering. I think too often we only look at the legality of a situation and forget that even if we act legally, we will have to live with our decisions and actions long after the event has has ended.

  4. Steven Matthews

    Wrong,wrong, wrong, 1. You have more room to defend yourself in a larger area 2. Running outside may put you face to face, you have no control 3. You must get control so you can work out an outcome that saves lives.

  5. Branden

    If the thug trying to break in the door is armed with a firearm I would want to surprise him as soon as he walks in the door. If I barricade my family in another room with me he could easily hear us in there and shoot though the door and hit a member of my family. The element of surprise is no longer on my side. He can set outside the room we're barricaded in and think of how he wants to attack. I can't see him. I want to have eyes on him from the moment he enters my home. The wife and kids will be barricaded and on the phone with police and my wife will have her ar at the ready. But me ima take the fight to the criminal trying to harm my family. I'm going to stop him or die trying. I'm not going to let him kill my kids by blindly firing into the room we're barricaded in. I know rob wouldn't barricade himself in with his family if a criminal armed with a firearm kicked in his door. He would seek and destroy.

  6. e

    My mother (who's partially disabled and is pre-diabitic) and I recently experienced something similar. I was already on the phone with a sheriff describing a suspicious car and person. All of a sudden after about one or two minutes, three guys quickly opened all the doors to their luxury car and came running up the driveway. I kind of panicked but told the sheriff on the phone I was grabbing my shotgun as I quickly walked downstairs to defend my home and us. In this case I think I did the best thing because one of the guys was prepared to break a window or door. He was wearing thick green gloves and jumped one of our gates. Within seconds that I positioned myself, aiming my shotgun in various directions as swept it, the guy with green gloves showed up but suddenly left within a blink of an eye. No shots fired and all were arrested. We later saw that there were four guys, not three. One of the sheriffs who arrived told us that I did everything correctly. I was prepared to stop the threat had the threat broken into my home.

  7. Richard

    You are absolutely correct, Rob! I have read the various comments made below, many of which bring up specific circumstances that impact on how someone may or could respond to such a threat...and I know that you are well aware that no two set of circumstances are exactly the same and that the decision on how to act differs dependent on existing circumstances, abilities and skills! The bottom line is that lethal personal defense should be your action of last resort...but when you are forced to take such an action, do what you must to survive and protect your loved ones...and be prepared to justify your actions later.


    Is he kidding!? Run out of another door if someone is trying to break in the OTHER door. Who is to say the attacker won't pop around the side of the home and pick off the family that is now STANDING OUT IN THE OPEN WITH NO COVER . Who is to say the other rooms are now safe. And who is to say there isn't another attacker waiting at another exit? Once someone breaks into the home, most states recognise it as an attack and this nonsense of running from room to room is moot. Some of this material really could get a family killed.

  9. Vic vapor

    good video I myself would not tell anyone I had a firearm at any point of phone call or hollered alert. Running outside.... I think not. Good video for the questions one must ask oneself about steps for self preservation and what would a jury think. .

  10. J R P

    I understand your point. And I agree to some extent. In this state, a large part of the population carries and most of those who don't will at least have a gun in their house. I've been the victim of a home invasion and I did just that... called the police and retreated with gun in hand, prepared to defend myself if and when the perp got to me. In this situation, he wasn't able to get in before the police arrived. At which point, the officer said "I'm not saying you should have shot him, but I would have if I were you". Going outside was not an option because a) I had no idea what was out there... possibly more of this thugs gang banging "Brothers". b) Once leaving my home, I am no longer protected by any laws and it becomes much more difficult to prove fear of death (in this state, the only defense for shooting an assailant. c) I'm standing there naked with gun in hand (no, when someone comes to kill you in the middle of the night, you do not have time to get dressed) and the last thing I need is to become a registered sex offender and lose all of my rights. If I had it to do over again, I would have shot him through the door. The aftermath of someone getting away with their crime doesn't go away. That SOB is still roaming the streets because the state said they are the victim and not me. They decided to let this POS plea for a couple months probation. Never even made it to a court room. Meanwhile my family and I have to deal with the constant threat of this loser. Not to mention how many others since then (now that he is fully aware he can get away with his crimes) have been raped, beaten, robbed or murdered. Oh wait, I'm sure the justice system worked and his probation sentence whipped him into shape so he will never hurt anyone again. My point to this is, though I respect your opinion and thank you for taking the time to make this video, I believe that if someone is forcefully entering your home with clear intentions of doing you harm, you need to resolve the matter permanently. The police will come clean up the mess. I'm no cowboy, the last thing I want is to ever use my firearm. But no man will ever threaten my family again and live to talk about it. IT IS BETTER TO BE TRIED BY 12 THAN CARRIED BY 6

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