Learning about the legitimate use of lethal force.

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Last week’s discussion about armed intervention by a concealed carrier drew a lot of commentary, and for that I’m thankful. It’s important that topics like this are discussed ahead of time, before an incident unfolds.

I worded the article very carefully to elicit one thing: a careful consideration, by each of us, of what we would do when faced with that kind of situation. I’ll admit, though, at being rather surprised that a good number of comments reduced the options to ...

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Should a CCW holder get involved in someone else’s fight?

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A week or so ago, Greg Ellifritz (who’s a police officer by trade) posted a story about a call in which he was involved. Seems that a male store security officer (who is also a cop, albeit part-time) had a running fight with a female shoplifter that ended up on the side of a thoroughfare. The suspect got the bright idea of yelling “rape!” in an attempt to elicit some help on the part of passers-by.

She got it in the ...

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Warning shots: they can land you in jail, and you’ll probably deserve it.

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One of the sure ways to get a certain number of gun owners up in arms is to post a story about someone being arrested for firing a warning shot. The attitude seems to be that if the person didn’t shoot at someone else, and didn’t hit anyone accidentally, where’s the harm?

Warning shots seem to be grossly misunderstood by a large percentage of gun owners, who are confused about their legality and practicality. It’s really quite simple: they’re virtually never ...

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Don’t do stupid things, and don’t talk to the media. And never do both at the same time!

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From Toledo, OH comes the story of a homeowner who did something stupid: she took her .357 and confronted a petty thief who her boyfriend reportedly caught stealing a bicycle from her front porch. Why is this stupid? Because the thief’s actions did not rise to the level that justifies the threat of lethal force.

In general, lethal force can only be used when the defender is in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm through the ...

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Can you – or should you? Decision making during a lethal force incident.

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One of the chapters in my upcoming book deals with the legalities of shooting someone in self defense, and in it I make the point that there are perhaps situations where you could, legally, shoot someone – but might not need to do so. I think it’s an important distinction.

Many of my students ask when they’re allowed to use deadly force, and while knowing the legalities of what you can and can’t do is vital** I believe ...

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“Stand Your Ground” and Zimmerman: no relation.

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I’ve received a surprising number of emails from people who don’t understand, and are quite confused about, the concept of the “stand your ground” (SYG) law in Florida. (Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

First things first: Zimmerman’s attorneys did not invoke SYG in his case and it was in no way part of his defense. This is important to recognize, because the media (and Michael Bloomberg) are trying their best to convince everyone that ...

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On the Zimmerman trial: the verdict is in, now we can look for lessons learned.

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I’ve avoided discussing this until the trial was finished, as I knew that we’d not gotten all the facts in the matter. Today we at least know that the jury saw no reason to convict him of a crime, and at this point he is a free man. That may change, as the federal government is making noises about a civil rights indictment, but so far it’s just saber rattling.

There are three aspects of the case which interest me, because ...

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Stop defending stupid gun owners. And get training so you wont’ be one.

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While I was in Connecticut the last few days, I read two stories of stupid people using guns: one in my own state of Oregon, where a fellow had his gun confiscated because he fired a warning shot at a suspected burglar; and another in my neighboring state of Washington where someone shot and killed a thief who was taking his car.

In both cases the shooters were quite obviously uneducated as to the responsibilities that go with ...

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Considering the knife as a defensive tool: what are the legal ramifications?

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It’s rather fashionable in the self defense world to carry a knife as a backup to a firearm. At any ‘tactical’ event you’ll find people carrying a ‘fighting’ blade along with a ‘backup’ blade, and some practitioners advocate the knife as a primary tool for self defense.

There was a time when I espoused such points of view, but over the years I’ve changed my mind a bit. The knife is almost always considered deadly force, and brings with it some ...

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Evidence in the Trayvon Martin case – and how it affects you.

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The Armed Citizen’s Legal Defense Network (of which you should be a member) has published an interesting look at the Martin/Zimmerman case in their June newsletter. The Florida courts, as their law requires, released all of the evidence related to the case a couple of weeks ago. In his article, Marty Hayes looks at a portion of that released evidence and makes some observations which might be useful to those who carry a firearm ...

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The Martin/Zimmerman case.

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I’ve gotten a few emails and Facebook messages asking what I think of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman shooting. My answer is simple: I don’t know the facts of the case.

The important thing to remember is that no one does. All we have is piecemeal information released by sources of varying veracity and – here’s the important part – reported by the media, filtered through whatever biases they have at the time.

It’s amazing to me that so many in the “gun ...

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People say “I need a gun-friendly lawyer.” I’m not so sure they do.

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While easting my lunch yesterday I decided to do a little surfing. I bounced around a bit, watched a couple of YouTube videos, and ended up doing something I always regret: checking out some of the more popular gun forums. Why ‘regret’? Because they usually make my head hurt; inanity does that to me.

Yesterday’s was a thread with the title “I need a gun-friendly lawyer.” The writer goes on to say that he needs to find one in his area ...

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Paging Dr. Ayoob: clueless person is dispensing dangerous legal advice!

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We need 100cc of Factual Information, stat!

This splashed onto several blogs last week, and it’s just too good a train wreck to ignore. Do not be mislead: the advice this guy gives is a sure ticket to a jail cell. The ‘term clueless loon’ comes to mind…

For years people like Mas Ayoob and Marty Hayes have been educating people on the realities of the legal side of self defense, ...

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Presented for your consideration, again: there is no such thing as a ‘clean shoot’.

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I’ve been pretty clear over the years about my belief in the myth of the ‘clean shoot’. It’s a phrase that comes up with amazing regularity in various forums and in gunshops all across the country: as long as your shoot is ‘clean’, nothing else matters.

As I’ve pointed out, the people who decide if your self defense act was ‘clean’ sit on a jury. Whether you think it was a ‘good’ shoot, whether I do, whether your instructor does, or ...

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You need to read this. Seriously: what exactly is a good shoot, and who decides?

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One consistent theme amongst the less informed is that all you need worry about in a defensive encounter is that it’s a “good shoot.” Nothing else, according to these keyboard commandoes, matters – you can do anything, as long as the shoot is “clean.”

The trouble is that neither you, nor they, get to decide what’s “clean” and what’s not. In my state, a Grand Jury makes the first decision, and if they say it isn’t “clean” it then goes to ...

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What happens after the shooting? Get this free booklet and learn!

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It’s easy to get preoccupied with in the shooting part of self defense preparations. Let’s face it: shooting is fun!

If you take self defense seriously, however, at some point you have to ask about the “after part” – what happens after you’ve discharged your gun at an assailant. This is an area that is infrequently covered, or simply covered in misinformation.

Marty Hayes wants to change that.

Marty is the President of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, which ...

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Massad Ayoob’s new gig: the Massad Ayoob Group (MAG).

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I got an email from Massad Ayoob recently, in which he told me about his new venture: the Massad Ayoob Group (MAG). He’s got a great website where you can read the official announcement.

While the curriculum will be new, the principles he teaches aren’t. No one knows more about the legal and ethical side of deadly force, and his updated classes will build on that expertise. I asked Mas about how the new curriculum will translate to ...

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Use-of-Force Myths: how many of these do you believe?

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The archives over at Force Science News continue to fascinate. Issue #68 deals with several myths about the use of deadly force, myths that a large percentage of the population (regardless of their level of firearms knowledge) believe. The whole article is interesting, but it’s the first myth – that of the Demonstrative Bullet – that is most immediately useful.

The article discusses the myth from the standpoint of those who judge an incident after ...

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Yes, there are people who still think warning shots are a good idea. Don’t be one of them.

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Xavier Thoughts chronicles the story of an elderly gentleman who, using his gun, confronted a burglar in his home. The outcome was that the perp got sent to jail. Great, right? Well, maybe not. This may get ugly when the inevitable civil suit is filed.

You see, the perp was injured because the homeowner fired an unaimed “warning shot” which fragmented and struck the intruder. As if that wasn’t bad enough in these litigious times, the gentleman couldn’t ...

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