together with edged or bladed tools, explosives and even vehicles, are considered to be instruments of deadly
force. If used with lethal intent, they are capable of causing death or inflicting
serious injury. Items not normally regarded to be weapons, such as a
baseball bat or Grandma's petrified fruit cake from last Christmas, will be
legally construed to be instruments of deadly force if they are used in
a combative manner for the purpose of killing and maiming. The methods and means by which people are capable
of destroying one another are nearly innumerable, and range from
primitive rocks and clubs to technologically sophisticated munitions. If
employed improperly for grievous harm, even innocent devices or objects become instruments of deadly
handgun represents the "great equalizer". It essentially
gives any person, regardless of age, sex, stature or strength, access to
deadly force. A firearm in
skilled hands provides the intended victim with the means of resisting
aggression. Its purpose is to conclusively stop an attack through the
perceived threat or actual application of deadly force on your part.
of a firearm as a means of stopping an assault requires that a
person be in imminent danger of death or substantial injury. You do not have to
tolerate a criminal threat to your life. You do not have to submit to a
or bludgeoning. You do not have to acquiesce to rape.
It is lawful to repel violence with violence in a self defense situation of
extreme necessity. The level of force you use must be commensurate
with the force used against you.
Mere defense of property is
not an acceptable reason to shoot someone.
Laws vary among states, so it
is important for a person to ascertain what constitutes legal use of deadly
force in their particular jurisdiction. This should be one of the initial activities
conducted by a person who elects to purchase a firearm for personal
protection. As a start, you may wish to peruse Self
a quick summation, remember that your attacker must have the intent,
and the opportunity
to kill or severely injure you in order for you to resist by delivering
deadly force. You must be in jeopardy
of serious or life threatening physical harm. These four highlighted
terms have specific legal interpretations.
court of law
will investigate and determine if your use of force was logical
(involved sound judgment), was reasonable
(sane, lucid, rational) and was necessary
U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld the right of law abiding American
citizens to use a handgun for self defense in the home. Somewhat
surprisingly, these decisions were the first in history of the Republic in which the Supreme
Court ruled that firearm ownership is indeed an individual right and not a
collective militia right. It was always regarded to be so, but
increasingly onerous gun control laws prompted a pro-gun challenge for the
high court to address. Refer to Second Amendment for
further information regarding these decisions.
rulings solidify the Constitutional right to "Keep and Bear Arms" and
apply to all states and public federal enclaves within the states, such as
national forests, monuments and parks as well as the District of
State and local laws still govern firearm possession outside the home.
Some states expand the right of personal defense to include one's family, and other
states include strangers in danger as well. Some states may regard your
car, truck, RV, travel trailer or campsite to be a legal extension of your home.
matters of self defense, be prudent. Remember,
your objective is to cause the assailant to desist in their aggressive behavior.
To do so may require the effective use of superior force on your part.
You are not intent on killing anyone. Rather, you are determined to
keep them from killing you and yours. Should you be required to shoot
an attacker, there is no legal
justification for a "coup de grace". Likewise, a shot into the
back of a fleeing attacker will be frowned upon in a court of law. Don't
get into needless trouble. Do your
legal and statutory research. Many on-line resources are available to help
you in this regard.
to a firearm does not make you a policeman. Leave enforcement of the
law to law enforcement. For crimes in progress that have not escalated
to violence, it is best to be an observant, reliable witness who calls
911. Disputes where you don't know the cast of characters should be
avoided, because it is often impossible to tell the good guys from the bad
guys. Quite often, there may be no good guys. It's best to
restrict your use of deadly force to the protection of you and yours.
cases where the bullets are flying and innocent people are being gunned
down, most firearm owners would like to think that we would have the
fortitude to do our best to terminate the slaughter.
September 6, 2011 shooting in Carson City, Nevada, is a classic example of
sudden, horrific violence. After wounding a bystander in the parking
lot, a disgruntled former employee walked into the International House of
Pancakes (IHOP) restaurant with an AK-47 and proceeded to shoot
patrons. Of the 4 killed, 3 were uniformed Nevada National
Guardsmen. The fourth was an elderly woman enjoying breakfast with her
husband. Eleven others were wounded. The gunman took his own
hearing the first shot in the parking lot, a nearby bar and grill owner in
the same shopping center pulled his handgun and took aim on the
gunman. At that point, the gunman entered the IHOP, precluding the
shot. Carnage followed. The armed bar and grill owner made no
further attempt to intervene. Why not? Should he have?
What would you do?