CAN YOU ARTICULATE YOUR USE OF DEADLY FORCE?
Congratulations! You just applied for your Texas License to Carry. Now what? If you are like most people, you will buy a holster and a belt. Then you will stand in front of the mirror and hopelessly obsess over whether you are printing or not. Then you will question whether or not you should carry with a chambered round or not. You should be questioning whether or not you have a complete understanding of justified use of deadly force. This article provides recommended reading for those choosing to be law abiding armed citizens.
Are you able to articulate to the six people on the jury you did not get to pick that what you did was the right thing to do and if they were there and knew what you knew, they would have done precisely the same thing you did?
Can you demonstrate that your use
of deadly force was immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm of death or serious bodily injury by an aggressor who had the ability and opportunity when you, the defender, was precluded from retreat or any other means of avoidance or de-escalation to stop the threat?
Of all the myths and misconceptions of what justified use of deadly force is – and is not – two consistently persist. One is you can shoot anyone for any reason as long as the other person is in your home uninvited, on your unfenced, unposted property, or trying to steal your prized lawn mower and other earthly possessions.
The other is “I was in fear for my life, so I stood my ground.”
If these were true, then the law would read something like, “you are unquestionably justified in the use of deadly force anytime someone is unwelcome on your property or when you are scared on someone else’s”.
The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network publishes a free 19 page booklet titled What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law that is necessary reading for anyone with a defensive handgun.
Critical justification topics include ability, opportunity, and jeopardy plus why self-defense is an affirmative defense for murder and manslaughter charges.
The initial aggressor rule, castle doctrine, and duty to retreat concepts are also discussed in this free booklet.
ACDLN Board Member and leading Armed Citizen expert Massad Ayoob published a book that expounds upon these concepts, titled Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense.
If there was one book that needs to be in the armed citizen’s library, it is this one. Ayoob begins with a chapter on standards – legal standards – for justification. He then devotes a chapter each on ability, opportunity, and jeopardy before adding clarity to the castle doctrine and stand your ground laws before debunking self-defense myths. He also discusses furtive movements and finishes up with two case studies.
Ayoob also edited a book titled Straight Talk on Armed Defense: What the Experts Want You to Know. This book is the perfect sequel to his Deadly Force work.
Each renowned expert wrote a chapter to give the armed citizen perspective on topics such as the defender’s mindset, psychological aftermath, decision making under stress, violent criminal actors, the concealed carry lifestyle, and other post-incident advice.
The goal of this article is to help new concealed carry citizens focus on what matters with recommended reading.
Make it part of your continuing education to know the law, know what to do, and why what you did was justified.
This blog post is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Seek professional instruction or competent supervision before attempting any live fire methods or tactics described herein. References to any company or product does not constitute an endorsement or review. Trademarks are the intellectual property of its owner.
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