RIGHT TO DEFEND AND PROTECT DOESN’T ALWAYS JUSTIFY LETHAL FORCE
October 29, 2018
Even though Memorial Day is gone and passed months ago, it is a favorite holiday for many. Many look back on that day with thoughts of celebration: celebrations with barbecues, parades and leisure time activities. Memorial day isn’t just about barbecues, swimming, and the day off. It is about the Men and Women who signed their names on the dotted line, raised their Right hands and swore an Oath to Defend and Protect our Country every day.
Let us always remember not just for one day but every day those who have sacrificed for us. We remember our service-members, our parents, grandparents and ancestors, and our friends who gave up their life In order to defend ours.
As Americans, we have enjoyed the God-given right to self-defense and protection of property since the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The right to defend ourselves includes the legal and justifiable right to use deadly force.
Most people who carry concealed firearms see a need, recognize the dangers in the world, and believe that concealed carrying a firearm grants the carrier a tool that can be used to respond to defend themselves, their loved one and their home and property from bad people. Have you ever stopped to consider under what conditions you would shoot to defend a 3rd party?
It has happened. Concealed carriers have stepped in to defend someone else from an assailant. Some people may jump right into a conflict with their guns drawn without hesitation. Doing what is right is immediately clear to them. But, I would imagine, that even for those responders, there are some instances that may not be quite so cut and dry.
As concealed carriers, we are not policemen or members of the military sworn to serve and protect the innocent. There are laws that require a concealed carrier to prove that lethal force was justifiable when they shoot another human being. The quick decision you make to apply lethal force in defense of the life of another will be heavily scrutinized by police and the public, and you run the risk that it may not be seen as “justified”.
Every state has self-defense statutes or case law that defines how and when a person can use deadly force. Usually the issue centers around:
Was it justified? As a general rule, robbery, burglary, and any other felony that would be punishable with the death sentence is justified reason to use deadly force against another human being.
Was it necessary? Some states require you to “escape” the situation if you can. If you knowingly had a way out of the situation, the state could possibly charge you with murder.
Was deadly force reasonable? Though every state details either “imminent” or “immediate” death or serious bodily injury, some states require you to provide more reasons other than just an imminent danger to your life or body. California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Rhode Island all state that you cannot use more force than necessary. Meaning if you could have defended yourself any other way than deadly force would not be justified.
Was death or serious bodily injury imminent? In most states, if you are not being threatened with death or harm, lethal force is not justified.
When we carry concealed, we take on a significant responsibility. We take on the role of protectors… of our own lives, and of those around us. Take time to understand that one day you may have to take a life to save your own, or someone else’s, and that your life will never be the same afterward. Be sure you know what the laws are regarding concealed carry and justifiable use of force in your state. Given the legal implications, consider your actions ahead of time and keep your concealed carry status in perspective. The Second Amendment protects your right to defend yourself, but it does not give you the license to kill.