More and more citizens are becoming concerned about the chaos, crime, and violence that we are seeing in American cities. And reports indicate people are buying defensive firearms in record numbers. However, owning a firearm is just one small part of personal defense. Not all criminal attacks justify the use of deadly force.
It is possible to apply too much force in responding to an attack. People may think that they are justified by proclaiming they were in fear for their life. Through fear and uncertainty, individuals may use more force than is necessary to resolve a conflict. The real issue is whether or not the criminal justice system thinks a person was justified.
Laws in every state may be slightly different. But they essentially attempt to determine if a person’s response to a threat was a reasonable response. In other words, it doesn’t matter what I think, or the expert on the internet; what matters is what the district attorney, the judge, or the jury thinks. This is the reason that everyone who is concerned about their personal safety should get the good advice from a criminal defense attorney in their area.
So, if we consider a reasonable response to a threat, I may not always be justified in using my gun against a man who comes at me with his bare fists. And I should have a plan for dealing with that probability. One defensive trainer has said that a person ought to have something that goes in between a harsh word and a gun.
There are many things that we might do to deal with an assault that is not a deadly assault. We might sign up for some martial arts classes that teach us to fight, instead of just compete. We might take some stick fighting classes that teach us how to use a walking cane effectively. Or we might start carrying some of the pepper spray products similar to what the police use. In short, we need to find some training, or equipment, that helps us deal with a non-deadly assault in what is clearly a non-deadly manner.
A great idea might be to invite a criminal defense attorney to speak on the use of force to your local gun club. Most law enforcement agencies have officers who regularly make such talks to citizen groups. The key is to get good information from someone in authority who can speak on the laws, and their interpretation in your specific geographic area.
Just saying, “I feel I was justified” won’t cut it. It is important to get good information and then back that up by getting good defensive equipment and training to protect yourself against a non-deadly attack.