Self defense quandary.

RocketmanRocketman BannedPosts: 1,118 Senior Member
I've heard (note that means it may be BS) that if a criminal threat is in your home and you shoot them when they are leaving (in the back and supposedly no longer a threat) you're going to prison. IF THIS IS TRUE, what about casually being in a corner store and a guy in front of you pulls a gun on the cashier and you honestly think he will or could kill the cashier, you and anyone in the store. Can you legally give him some extra breathing holes from his backside? Someone set me straight on this. Maybe I got it all kinds of crooked but I'd curiously like to know.

Replies

  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    Any and all actions involving lethal force will in my amateur opinion be subjected to uncertain, and possibly unfair litigation.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    2 observations from what you discribed above and ONLY from what you described.

    1. Subject is actively leaving your dwelling.
    2. Subject is actively pointing a gun at an innocent 3rd party.

    See any difference in the two situations you described?

    Every situation is a case unto itself.

    Outside of the various "Castle Doctrines" out there. Keep these 3 things in mind and apply them to every situation.

    Does the subject have:
    1. The means to inflict grave bodily injury or death.
    2. The ability to inflict grave bodily injury or death.
    3. The intent to inflict grave bodily injury or death.

    If your reasonable perception is that the individual possesses all 3 of those..........you have a lethal force situation.

    All circumstantial evidence not withstanding.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,825 Senior Member
    In some part, it depends on where you live....you must become very familiar with the laws in your state. As to your scenario...a LOT can go wrong with it. Are you sure that the guy with the gun is the only perpetrator? Is there a possibility that you're going to get a shoot through that may injure aninnocent bystander? Personally, I'm not shooting anybody to protect a third parties money...my only responsibility is to be a good witness up until the point that my or anothers life is at imminent risk.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,259 Senior Member
    You can get away with shooting a robber in the back in texas, probably nowhere else. You need to be in fear of you life and if he's leaving, you are not in danger. Most places you can't kill over property.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • RocketmanRocketman Banned Posts: 1,118 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    In some part, it depends on where you live....you must become very familiar with the laws in your state. As to your scenario...a LOT can go wrong with it. Are you sure that the guy with the gun is the only perpetrator? Is there a possibility that you're going to get a shoot through that may injure aninnocent bystander? Personally, I'm not shooting anybody to protect a third parties money...my only responsibility is to be a good witness up until the point that my or anothers life is at imminent risk.

    I'm with this train of thought also, but I'm just wondering about a situation where your gut tells you that the cashier is first and you're possibly next in line.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,656 Senior Member
    In both scenarios you listed, what's legal and what's going to get you charged with a crime varies WIDELY from one city/state/jurisdiction to another. What's perfectly acceptable under the law here, might get you a felony conviction elsewhere.

    Best advice I can give is to find out what YOUR local laws say. Finding a criminal defense attorney and spending the money to pick their brain for an hour or so, might be money well spent
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,046 Senior Member
    Rocketman wrote: »
    I'm with this train of thought also, but I'm just wondering about a situation where your gut tells you that the cashier is first and you're possibly next in line.
    As others have said, it varies by location, but I believe in FL it would be an acceptable shoot as he's now verbalized intent and demonstrated he has the means to do it.

    Problem is, if he's verbalized that he knows where you are. If you don't have your firearm out, well, he's already beaten you on the draw.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,549 Senior Member
    Nothing is carved in stone. There are a multitude of variations on every 'justifiable' homicide.

    Yeah, in Texas, you can generally get away with shooting a thief in the act, if there is clear-cut evidence, and if it all happens on your property. But it varies, with circumstances, and from one jurisdiction to the next. Every homicide goes to a grand jury, and the prosecutor can usually get an indictment, if he has a good case. But DA is a locally elected office, so he will usually reflect the opinion of the voters. In most places, that will usually result in a thief being considered 'paid for,' if killed during the commission of a crime against the shooter.
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    I recently attended a seminar at a local range, presented by a former LEO turned 2A defense attorney, on the subject of armed self defense in Virginia and concealed carry, including topics like this. Well worth the fee.

    Keep an eye out for events like this, and consider attending. Not only is it worth a morning's time, the fact that you sought out this education may play well in court to bolster your case as an armed good guy.

    ETA: It's also likely less expensive than a private hour of an attorney's time.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,045 Senior Member
    With castle doctrine in my state, I see scenario #1 as most likely legally justified, but I doubt I could ever justify it to myself. Plus shooting them is going to make a mess and I don't want to have to clean it up. If scenario #2 is the clear cut armed robbery that you described, I won't hesitate to shoot-- by the act of threatening the life of another person, they forfeited their own. I do not think I could justify to myself to not act in that situation.
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,581 Senior Member
    BAMAAK wrote: »
    You can get away with shooting a robber in the back in texas, probably nowhere else. You need to be in fear of you life and if he's leaving, you are not in danger. Most places you can't kill over property.

    Just grab your DVD player and throw it on the ground by them, we have the right to retrieve our personal property here.
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    In NC it is now assumed if an intruder is in your home he is a threat. This is whether he is armed or not. I could not say I would shoot someone running for my home. I guess if he fit the three criteria that Zee posted I would. As to #2 in NC you are authorized to use lethal force to protect yourself or another from great bodily harm, sexual assault, or death.
    It's because I hate Trump.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,038 Senior Member
    In GA, anyone who enters your occupied house by force is pretty much paid for.

    I wouldn't shoot someone for property theft.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • RocketmanRocketman Banned Posts: 1,118 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Regardless of what state laws allow me to do (in whatever state I happen to be in) my intent is to never use deadly force on anyone unless they meet the above 3 points. PERIOD...

    I believe Zee made the best point with his post. In my state, you CAN protect property and a third party BOTH with deadly force. I'd let my property go at a loss but not another's life. Guess I never thought about using my states laws as a consideration to my own question. I just imagined that when the CSI team show up, a guy dead from a rearward wound just would give a bad impression. And lord knows that even if you're legally in the right by the law, the court of public opinion can sway that a mile nowadays.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,038 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    2 observations from what you discribed above and ONLY from what you described.

    1. Subject is actively leaving your dwelling.
    2. Subject is actively pointing a gun at an innocent 3rd party.

    See any difference in the two situations you described?

    Every situation is a case unto itself.

    Outside of the various "Castle Doctrines" out there. Keep these 3 things in mind and apply them to every situation.

    Does the subject have:
    1. The means to inflict grave bodily injury or death.
    2. The ability to inflict grave bodily injury or death.
    3. The intent to inflict grave bodily injury or death.

    If your reasonable perception is that the individual possesses all 3 of those..........you have a lethal force situation.

    All circumstantial evidence not withstanding.

    You almost never actually know the violator has the "means" to inflict deadly force in a surprise situation unless he has his hands up and is naked. Or unless he has a weapon, where the means is evident. You've got to take your chances that he doesn't if you don't shoot, which is fine. Your choice, and one made in a few seconds.

    I think "intent" can be inferred reasonably. Unless the violator is a drunk looking for his home and gets yours by mistake or a ten year old, I think you can reasonably infer he's there to do you harm if he breaks in your house. "Ability" is another thing you have to assume one way or another based on the circumstances. I don't think it's reasonable to assess ability in the heat of the moment when you're afraid for your life.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    You almost never actually know the violator has the "means" to inflict deadly force in a surprise situation unless he has his hands up and is naked. Or unless he has a weapon, where the means is evident. You've got to take your chances that he doesn't if you don't shoot, which is fine. Your choice, and one made in a few seconds.

    I think "intent" can be inferred reasonably. Unless the violator is a drunk looking for his home and gets yours by mistake or a ten year old, I think you can reasonably infer he's there to do you harm if he breaks in your house. "Ability" is another thing you have to assume one way or another based on the circumstances. I don't think it's reasonable to assess ability in the heat of the moment when you're afraid for your life.

    It is a Use of Force Policy that holds up in court.

    Lack any of the 3 and you better have strong evidence otherwise. If you shoot someone without the reasonable perception of them having the "means", the "ability", or the "intent" to inflict grave bodily injury or death upon you or an innocent 3rd person...........why did you shoot them?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,038 Senior Member
    As I said in my other post, if someone enters your home by force in my jurisdiction, the three elements you outlined are inferred. Of course, if you could know those three things automatically, you're in good shape, but I think yours is a boiler-plate construction that isn't applicable in the couple of seconds it takes for an event to occur. It would have to be asked why the guy breaks into your home, for which in my state, is enough. It was written for home invasions.

    If you wake up and a guy is in your bedroom, you simply don't have time to evaluate means, intent, ability etc. It's unreasonable to expect the homeowner to determine these things in a flash. Why shoot him? Because he's in your bedroom at 1 a.m. Your house is a very protected area. See him in your garage, a different story.

    Of course, if you have the leisure to make those determinations, you're golden. But that ain't the way it usually happens.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    If you look at my original post I said, "Outside of the various Castle Doctrines out there."

    The implication being that, without a Castle Doctrine or outside your home, to keep those three things in mind when confronted with a situation.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    It is a Use of Force Policy that holds up in court.

    Lack any of the 3 and you better have strong evidence otherwise. If you shoot someone without the reasonable perception of them having the "means", the "ability", or the "intent" to inflict grave bodily injury or death upon you or an innocent 3rd person...........why did you shoot them?

    Well put. In Virginia, to be clear, one CANNOT use deadly force solely in defense of property. For example, if you catch some mutt at 3am stripping your car and stealing your $8000 spinner rims, you can't unleash a load of buckshot at him.

    In that seminar, I asked the presenting attorney about the case of a BG attacking one's horses or dogs. In that case, he said, one CAN infer an intent to case bodily harm to the owner as well, and respond appropriately.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,347 Senior Member
    Unless the state where the shoot goes down is an 'immunity from litigation' state, you will also face a civil sit brought by the baddie's next of kin, hoping to get the rest of the things sumdood didn't already cart off.

    As others have posted, if your situation doesn't meet the criteria mentioned, why is shooting an option? The flip side of that question is; If the situation does meet the criteria, why haven't you fired already? When it comes to self defense, like unicorns or honest politicians, an absolute is a rare and wonderful thing. It will come down to judgement... and your judgement WILL be questioned. Likely quite vigorously.
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,347 Senior Member
    I'm sure that's correct, but the question was posed as the perp leaving the house. The act of leaving changes the equation considerably.

    For me, if I catch somebody leaving my house with my TV, they are safe from perforation. I might shot the TV though! :jester:
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    coolgunguy wrote: »
    For me, if I catch somebody leaving my house with my TV, they are safe from perforation. I might shot the TV though! :jester:

    That's funny.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • coolgunguycoolgunguy Senior Member Posts: 6,347 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    That's funny.

    I can be cantankerous at times. Spiteful too.
    "Bipartisan" usually means that a bigger than normal deception is happening.
    George Carlin
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,353 Senior Member
    If more people would apply Zee's formula as stated above, concerning the requirements for lethal force, there would be no ambiguity.
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • JeeperJeeper Senior Member Posts: 2,952 Senior Member
    All of this discussion above is why I will always live on a fenced in property with a dog. You will not breach my property without facing the dog, and any injury to the dog proves "means, ability, intent" as far as Florida castle doctrine, or I am concerned. I *HATE* thieves. Anybody who manages to shoot, stab, or beat back my German Shepherd to try to steal something, can count on catching all the lead I throw their way until/unless they manage to exit my property.

    Like mentioned above, castle doctrine is a necessity. Otherwise, if you discover an intruder in the night, you have to either presume means, ability, intent, or you are leaving your life to the whims of said intruder until (if) you manage to determine intent. Good luck with that.

    Luis
    Wielding the Hammer of Thor first requires you to lift and carry the Hammer of Thor. - Bigslug
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,243 Senior Member
    If a burglar breaks into my house looking for valuables, I just laugh.

    And then help him look. Maybe he can find something i didn't know about. Then I would shoot him.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,045 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    If a burglar breaks into my house looking for valuables, I just laugh.

    And then help him look. Maybe he can find something i didn't know about. Then I would shoot him.
    There is that Richard Simmons, Sweating with the Oldies collection you got. Don't forget that!
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