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The Right to Use Your Gun – Considering Use of Lethal Force

Hand Firing GunMany people strap a gun on their hip and have this new found confidence, arrogance and cockiness. Let us go through a scenario. Say you are out at a restaurant eating with your family. A stranger, whose had way too much to drink, bumps into your table and knocks the drinks over that spill on your wife’s lap. You get up, curse at the guy, and give him a shove to get away. He shoves you back. You shove him once more. He asks to “take it outside.” Your temper is raging because this guy just disrespected your family. You follow him out back and square off. After a short fist fight he pulls out a knife, you draw your gun and fire. Were you legally allowed to use your weapon in self-defense? NO! This is no longer a self-defense situation because you helped escalate the situation.

This scenario is a bit extreme, but it is being used to exemplify a very important point. If you are a willing participant in a situation that escalates violently, you lose all your rights to using lethal force. If you would have shot the guy, you could be tried for manslaughter.

Rewind to the point of the armed citizen shoving the drunken patron. If the armed citizen simply asked the gentleman to leave and kept his cool, the lethal force encounter would have been avoided. Likewise, if the situation did escalate while the armed citizen was acting passively to diffuse the situation (this is considered a non-willing participant), he would still possess the legal right to use lethal force if the situation called for it.

The key take-away is this. You must remain a NON-willing participant in the encounter. If you become a participant, you lose your rights to self-defense in using lethal force. This scenario can be applied to something as simple as road rage, or “flipping the bird” to the guy that cut you off on the highway. Being an armed citizen actually limits our legal response. We must stay calm, cool, and collected and always be a non-willing participant. Make sure your temper is in check when you are on the streets and always look for a way it. It is not cowardice; it is simply safe thinking and a way to preserve your legal rights. Remember, our carry weapon is the last defense.

Speak Your Mind

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