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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If a presumably unarmed attacker continued to advance on my position after continued warnings to stop, would deadly force be justified. I would assume that the attacker might have a weapon if he pursued me after a verbal and visual warning(hand on weapon) from me. I would never know if he had a weapon or not until it was too late..
Say this took place on the street and not while in my vehilce.
 

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This type of scenario walks a very thin line. Before pulling the trigger you have to make sure that you can prove to a jury that you were in fear for your life. It might be easier for a woman to prove this than a man. But this leaves you in a situation where you put yourself at risk if you don't draw in time defend yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, it is definitely iffy, because even if the guy doesn't have a weapon he could most certainly take mine away from me if the encounter goes terribly wrong. Better to be safe than sorry I guess.
 

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Yeah, it is definitely iffy, because even if the guy doesn't have a weapon he could most certainly take mine away from me if the encounter goes terribly wrong. Better to be safe than sorry I guess.
As they say, "carried by 6 or judged by 12". I don't think I can witstand a beating from a large angry man so if he ignores my verbal warning and my backing away he might not leave me no other option but to draw before he is within 10ft of me. Hopefully he has enough sense to stop his advance before I have to fire.
 

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If a presumably unarmed attacker continued to advance on my position after continued warnings to stop, would deadly force be justified. I would assume that the attacker might have a weapon if he pursued me after a verbal and visual warning(hand on weapon) from me. I would never know if he had a weapon or not until it was too late..
Say this took place on the street and not while in my vehilce.
I would have to say that if he continued on, after knowing I was armed, he must have been either on some mind altering drugs, been determined to cause me harm regardless of what happened to him or had reason to believe he was sufficiently skilled to do me some serious harm. I think that would justify self defense with a weapon. I also think a judge/jury would agree with that reasoning.
 

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To use lethal/deadly force [ and thats as soon as you pull the heater whether you fire or not afterwards ] requires three prerequisites.

1. Does he have the means [ a weapon or disparity of force applies here ]

2. Has he made physical threats to your person [ has he said anything that would lead a normal person to believe their life is in imminent danger? ]

3. Does he have the opportunity to carry that threat out [ distance ]

If you can't articulate someone has met all three of those criteria above, you are on very shaky ground where the courts are concerned in the use of deadly force.

If a presumably unarmed attacker

Presumption can get you into a lot of trouble here, if you can't articulate your position through direct actions of another, presuming and being wrong will get you locked up and charged if you are wrong in your presumption.

I would assume that the attacker might have a weapon

The word assume can be dangerous ground in these matters of use of deadly force. Can you articulate he has threatened you outright in some manner? What leads you to believe he is advancing to cause you harm? What if the guy is deaf and can't hear you?

More importantly perhaps is your being able to articulate why you felt threatened, he had given you reason to believe he has intentions of harming you [ made threats or threatening gestures? ], was there disparity of force between you two or a weapon was observed?, Is he close enough to carry that threat out?

You can't go around pulling a gun on people because someone told you they were going to kick your ass [ unarmed assumed here ]. A fist fight is not considered deadly force automatically in and of itself unless there are extenuating circumstances like there are two or more of them threatening to kick your butt [ disparity of force here ], or you are infirmed in some way and health issues would indicate to a reasonable person you would be prone to life threatening issues if you were punched [ like a heart condition, or you are in a wheelchair, or maybe using a cane as you have balance issues and a medical condition that precluded your ability to fight.

Brownie
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I appreceiate your input guys..thank you. I'm new to concealed carry and I just want to make sure that I always act within the law.
 

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Excellent analysis Brownie.

This is a pretty complicated legal situation that you describe because ultimately a police officer and then the district attorney will have to decide if you crossed any number of legal thresholds should an unarmed potential attacker fail to comply with your verbal commands, and you attempted to pull a weapon, let alone use it.

The term "reasonably believed" is most often used when trying to dissect the sometimes broad worded legal statutes. The singular fact that this person did not heed your commands is in my humble opinion not enough to cross the threshold of use of deadly force, in and of itself.

Even if you can say "i was in fear of my life" or "i put my hand on my weapon so that he would stop" both standard arguments according to Gutmacher in his book, this winds up being a jury question.

I would pick up his book (Florida Firearms Law, Use & Ownership) and read it carefully. You will see that there is much area open to interpretation, so if you are wrong, or even if you are right, you will have to justify your actions potentially in a criminal and/or civil court.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you FLRon..
This is my first day as a member and I already have obtained invaluable information. :drinks
 

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In any NRA qualifying class that you take the instructors are not allowed to give legal advice. Any legal advice has to be delivered by a Florida Law Enforcement Officer and/or an Attorney. I would have a tendency to listen to an Attorney over an LEO for advice.
 

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Brownie,

Thanks for the insight.
 

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While you may have no legal duty to retreat in the situation that's been described, that would probably be the best course of action, if possible. Engaging a visibly unarmed individual with deadly force is a no-win situation; even if they truly deserved to be shot, it'll probably be a tough sell to the State Attorney.
 

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If someone tells me he’s going to kick my ass and comes after me, it doesn’t matter if he’s armed. Plenty of people have died after being knocked down. If your head hits the pavement, curb, wall, bumper or whatever’s there, you may die. It won’t matter if you were hit with a jack handle or a fist.

“I’m gonna kick your ass” is a threat of serious bodily harm. Anyone who makes such a threat and is in a position to carry it out is very likely to get shot.

This isn’t New Jersey. You don’t have to take a serious beating and risk your life because you’re afraid you’ll go to jail.
 

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To use lethal/deadly force [ and thats as soon as you pull the heater whether you fire or not afterwards ] ...
Showing/pulling/brandishing a firearm is not deadly force under Florida law. Firing it is.
 

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Anyone who makes such a threat and is in a position to carry it out is very likely to get shot.

Anyone? I don't believe in absolutes, neither do the courts.

In your statement, I'm 6' 4" tall, and some skinny little ******* tweeker tells me he's going to kick my arse cause he was panhandling looking for money and I told him to go take a hike.

I pull heat and shoot him for threatening to kick my butt cause he was close enough to immediately carry out that threat [ or attempt to ], NO jury will believe I was in fear for my life. The totality of circumstances and what a reasonable person would believe under the same circumstances plays very well here with the courts, the DA and the responding officers who will look at the facts in evidence.

Simple fist fights/scraps are not in and of themselves considered lethal in any jurisdiction in the US that I'm aware of. Yes, you may get knocked down and bump your head, yes you may get injured, yes you may kick his arse instead, or a thousand other scenario/endings you can think of, but in and of itself, the simple act of telling someone you'll kick their arse doesn't justify them to use lethal force against you.

You have to meet said force with equal force. Lethal force against you justifies your response in kind. If someone pushes you, you are not justified anywhere I know of to pull heat and escalate the situation to deadly force.

You don’t have to take a serious beating and risk your life because you’re afraid you’ll go to jail.

I wasn't suggesting anyone had to do that either.:thumsup

Showing/pulling/brandishing a firearm is not deadly force under Florida law.

Cite the statute for the members if you would please. As Swamprat mentioned, your own or an officers interpretation of some law is not reliable in and of itself. I'd speak with an atty if you have any doubt about what you can and can't do under specific circumstances.

Brownie
 

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Okay, here ya go: from this website written by division of licensing as put forth by their director Mr. Charles Bronson on typical questions about use of a firearm to defend yourself in Fla.

http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/weapons/self_defense.html

Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:

* Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
* Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.


Using or displaying a handgun in any other circumstances could result in your conviction for crimes such as improper exhibition of a firearm, manslaughter, or worse.

Example of the kind of attack that will not justify defending yourself with deadly force: Two neighbors got into a fight, and one of them tried to hit the other by swinging a garden hose. The neighbor who was being attacked with the hose shot the other in the chest. The court upheld his conviction for aggravated battery with a firearm, because an attack with a garden hose is not the kind of violent assault that justifies responding with deadly force.

See that bolded text above about "violent assault". A fist fight is a simple assault without extenuating circumstances.

Q. What if someone uses threatening language to me so that I am afraid for my life or safety?

A. Verbal threats are not enough to justify the use of deadly force. There must be an overt act by the person which indicates that he immediately intends to carry out the threat. The person threatened must reasonably believe that he will be killed or suffer serious bodily harm if he does not immediately take the life of his adversary.


Q. What if I point my handgun at someone but don't use it?

A. Never display a handgun to gain "leverage" in an argument. Threatening someone verbally while possessing a handgun, even licensed, will land you in jail for three years. Even if the gun is broken or you don't have bullets, you will receive the mandatory three-year sentence if convicted. The law does not allow any possibility of getting out of jail early.


There's more, but you get the idea I'm sure from the above text. Took me all of 5 minutes to find it here, I asked you to recite the law based on YOUR statements and apparently you could not, so you put the burden of proof on me-----------there ya go.

Don't make statements you don't fully understand/comprehend. There are any number of circumstances and nuances to the law, it's never as cut and dried as you think.

Brownie
 

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From http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm

776.041 f.s.

776.041 Use of force by aggressor. (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to ...

776.012 Use of force in defense of person[/U].--A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force

Brownie
 

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Good job Brownie..

These points are key to your decision whether you use a firearm or not. Remember there also is such a thing as "Disparity of Force"


* Never use deadly force in self-defense unless you are afraid that if you don't, you will be killed or seriously injured;
* Verbal threats never justify your use of deadly force;
* If you think someone has a weapon and will use it unless you kill him, be sure you are right and are not overreacting to the situation.
I think those 3 points right there should help.

Now I'm an old guy, so I can get away with more than you young guys can. In fact I carry a cane in my truck. :)
 
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