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Old 10-28-2013, 08:02 PM   #1
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Default When is it NOT OK to use a firearm to defend yourself?

From another thread, a tactical and legal firearms usage question comes to mind:


At what point or level of force does a citizen have the right to defend themselves against a police officer acting outside the legal authority of the officer's office/jurisdiction? What about defending against deadly force being used by that officer, when can you defend yourself against that?

Ordinary day, you are out walking your dog and a SWAT team appears from the bushes, guns drawn, K-9 growling, and demanding that you "prone out" for their protection. The smart citizens checks the pavement for imperfections at close range. The suicidal citizen draws his weapon and prepares to defend his dog. What do you call the guy who calmly raises his hands and asks "what is the problem officer/shrubbery ninja?"? Is the guy questioning the officers' directions 1) a smart-alec 2) an insurrectionist 3) a suspect/person of interest 4) a corpse 5) seasoned and tenderized meat 6) a citizen standing up for their 4th amendment?

A different ordinary day: You walk out your front door to go to your car and see a uniformed officer of you local constabulary walking toward you with his gun drawn and aimed in your direction. If you are unaware of any wrongdoing on your part, are you within your rights to draw your concealed firearm, AND are you within your rights to use it if the officer starts shooting at you?

A third ordinary day: You are anywhere your ordinary day takes you, and you see a person unfamiliar to you and not in any recognizable uniform walking toward you with a firearm in his hand. At what point do you feel threatened: 1) When you see him approaching you with a firearm in his hand pointed at the ground? 2) When you see that the firearm is aimed at you or very close to you? 3) When the person raises their arm and carefully aim the firearm at your face? 4) When the person with the firearm gets closer than ten feet to you? 5) When the person fires their firearm at you?

What makes the "threatened" light glare for you, armament, attitude, distance, familiarity of subject, dress/uniform of subject, or the voices in your head?

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:06 PM   #2
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When someone is not posing a life threatening danger to you.

Also during thermonuclear warfare. Beter to respond in kind instead of with a firearm.

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:30 PM   #3
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The term "totality of circumstances" is appropriate here.

There have been times (when serving as LEO) that I most certainly DID have a gun pointed at someone who had done nothing- other than have bad luck, and be in the wrong place.

One was a car I stopped that was a rather distinctive color and model. A car of THAT color and model had been used less than 5 minutes and a mile away in an armed robbery that left one store clerk dead, and the first in officer bleeding on the sidewalk.

However, the guy driving it had done no wrong- and it took about 10 minutes to ascertain that. However, IF at the time of the stop he had produced a firearm, it would have taken a LOT longer to complete the paperwork.

If you are being shot at, no matter if it is the Pope squeezing off rounds, you have a right to defend yourself from deadly force. Less than that- give me ALL the circumstances, I can give you an answer (maybe not the right one, but an answer).

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Old 10-28-2013, 08:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangello View Post
From another thread, a tactical and legal firearms usage question comes to mind:


At what point or level of force does a citizen have the right to defend themselves against a police officer acting outside the legal authority of the officer's office/jurisdiction? What about defending against deadly force being used by that officer, when can you defend yourself against that?

Ordinary day, you are out walking your dog and a SWAT team appears from the bushes, guns drawn, K-9 growling, and demanding that you "prone out" for their protection. The smart citizens checks the pavement for imperfections at close range. The suicidal citizen draws his weapon and prepares to defend his dog. What do you call the guy who calmly raises his hands and asks "what is the problem officer/shrubbery ninja?"? Is the guy questioning the officers' directions 1) a smart-alec 2) an insurrectionist 3) a suspect/person of interest 4) a corpse 5) seasoned and tenderized meat 6) a citizen standing up for their 4th amendment?

A different ordinary day: You walk out your front door to go to your car and see a uniformed officer of you local constabulary walking toward you with his gun drawn and aimed in your direction. If you are unaware of any wrongdoing on your part, are you within your rights to draw your concealed firearm, AND are you within your rights to use it if the officer starts shooting at you?

A third ordinary day: You are anywhere your ordinary day takes you, and you see a person unfamiliar to you and not in any recognizable uniform walking toward you with a firearm in his hand. At what point do you feel threatened: 1) When you see him approaching you with a firearm in his hand pointed at the ground? 2) When you see that the firearm is aimed at you or very close to you? 3) When the person raises their arm and carefully aim the firearm at your face? 4) When the person with the firearm gets closer than ten feet to you? 5) When the person fires their firearm at you?

What makes the "threatened" light glare for you, armament, attitude, distance, familiarity of subject, dress/uniform of subject, or the voices in your head?
In Florida, since you did state that they were recognizable as police officers in your first two scenarios, you would legally be out of line resisting in both cases. You better comply with any lawful order.

A tip. It is not up to you to judge what is a lawful order and what isn't, but they don't generally have the authority to put you in harms way or force you to commit an unlawful act.

On your third ordinary day I would guess he is a nutcase and defend myself as I felt appropriate. A police officer will identify themselves. Again in Florida, if they don't, they are fair game. There is no requirement for you to assume a complete stranger in a threatening posture is a LEO.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:55 PM   #5
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OK, so far we have a wishy-washy "totality of circumstances" from a former LEO.


We also have a "it's the uniform in FL" from another reliable source familiar with law enforcement.

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In Florida, since you did state that they were recognizable as police officers in your first two scenarios, you would legally be out of line resisting in both cases. You better comply with any lawful order.
A tip. It is not up to you to judge what is a lawful order and what isn't, but they don't generally have the authority to put you in harms way or force you to commit an unlawful act.
Respectfully disagree with "it isn't up to me" to determine if the uniformed officer is within his legal jurisdiction (geographical and otherwise); I am the one at risk of being shot by this person I don't know who happens to be dressed as an officer of the law.

Anybody else? Is it the distance, the armament, their attitude, their clothes/uniform, what?
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:14 PM   #6
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For me, it's a little simpler up front; if I encounter a mortal threat and am armed, I will do whatever I really really have to do to escape that mortal threat. What would make an armed stranger not ignite my THREATENED light? IN PUBLIC/not on my property: Distance-If the person appears to be out of range of my current position, no light. If the person is not armed or accompanied by a mob, no light. If the person speaks to me from a distance in a friendly manner, doesn't display his firearm in a threatening manner, doesn't approach me without a greeting/wave/explanation, and generally doesn't have a "threatening" attitude, no light. If I am familiar with the subject, and have no history of trouble with the subject, no light. I have and will listen to "the voices in my head" when I encounter someone armed and of unknown intent (call it intuition; I call it Gary and Moe).

A uniform, BY ITSELF, will not keep the THREATENED light from being lit. While the VAST majority of law enforcement officers I have met personally and as part of their job were well-intentioned, there were the minority also who were not well-intentioned.

Is my position correct? Not legally, i'd wager. Probably morally, as I am not judging by appearances. Intellectually, without question; man must preserve himself first and above all.

On private property, my home, office, or car I consider any armed person who I didn't personally see arm themselves and express intentions to do other than harm me (pick up shotgun "i'm going squirrel hunting") is what I consider a "probable threat". Probable threats should be kept in sight and range until the threat is resolved (they leave, disarm, explain their presence well, etc.).

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Old 10-28-2013, 09:15 PM   #7
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Oh great.This thread is going to turn out well.

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Old 10-28-2013, 09:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orangello View Post
OK, so far we have a wishy-washy "totality of circumstances" from a former LEO.


We also have a "it's the uniform in FL" from another reliable source familiar with law enforcement.


Respectfully disagree with "it isn't up to me" to determine if the uniformed officer is within his legal jurisdiction (geographical and otherwise); I am the one at risk of being shot by this person I don't know who happens to be dressed as an officer of the law.

Anybody else? Is it the distance, the armament, their attitude, their clothes/uniform, what?
If you think an order is unlawful, sue them. I just don't think it is a good idea to argue the point at the time, especially since you probably have no idea what case law defines as a lawful order.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
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If you think an order is unlawful, sue them. I just don't think it is a good idea to argue the point at the time, especially since you probably have no idea what case law defines as a lawful order.
How could I sue them from the grave?

If there is a person in a uniform acting in a threatening manner to the point I am concerned for my life, can I not defend myself with a firearm legally? What if a person in a police uniform has struck me with a baton and appears to be preparing to strike me again with the baton (not the twirling kind)? What if this person has shot me in the abdomen, wounding me gravely? What if they have beaten and then shot repeatedly the person I was riding with? What if they are shouting in what appears to me to be an irrational manner and have shot the family pets? Do I have to wait for them to do actual physical damage before I defend myself?

With a random, non-uniformed person, whenever I legitimately feel "in fear of losing my life" I can defend myself with whatever means are available to me (knife, gun, severed limb).

At what point does the law permit me to exercise my right to an armed self-defense against a person wearing a uniform? Is there a particular law that makes uniformed persons a "protected class" or something?
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:26 PM   #10
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Oh great.This thread is going to turn out well.
Looks promising so far, doesn't it?
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