When is it NOT OK to use a firearm to defend yourself?

Discussion in 'Concealed Carrying & Personal Protection' started by orangello, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    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?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  2. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

    6,920
    41
    48
    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.
     

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    21,326
    168
    63
    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).
     
  4. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

    2,823
    0
    0
    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.
     
  5. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    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?
     
  6. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    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.).
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  7. DeltaF

    DeltaF New Member

    3,210
    0
    0
    Oh great.This thread is going to turn out well.
     
  8. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

    2,823
    0
    0
    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.
     
  9. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    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?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  10. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

    2,823
    0
    0
    Looks promising so far, doesn't it?
     
  11. Rocky7

    Rocky7 New Member

    1,409
    0
    0
    A Canadian man was acquitted of murder a few years ago for a police shooting when they busted into his home in the middle of the night, unannounced. Your laws are similar, but not the same so it would be hazardous to draw any exact parallels, I'd say.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Parasiris
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  12. Doc3402

    Doc3402 New Member

    2,823
    0
    0
    You can hypothetical situation this all day long, but you're going to have to do it without me. I told you what our law says. That's the best I can do.
     
  13. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    I appreciate your input as someone very familiar with FL law enforcement in action. I take your recommendation as "if the subject is uniformed, take no armed defensive action". That is a reasonable position. I think forums are a good place to "what if" things. :)



    What about other reasons a person shouldn't or couldn't defend themselves against a person with a firearm? Other than the way the person is dressed? Is the age of the person or their physical condition a reasonable reason NOT to consider them a mortal threat?
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  14. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

    7
    1
    0
    i'll play along!:D

    first day scenario. i'd probably go ahead and follow dirctions. as long as i'm alive, ican fight in court if i have to. plus, if they have violated my Constitutional rights, a good lawyer will be having them on the unemployment line and getting me a huge check for my troubles. if they have made an honest mistake, such as i fitted the description of some wanted criminal, and then determined i wasn't that person, well mistakes happen.

    second day scenario. pretty much the same as the first day. i can remember a few years ago, getting stopped and detained on the side of the road, because i was driving a white Dodge truck, very similiar in description to what someone had used in an armed robbery of a store. after they determined it wasn't me or my truck involved, they apologised for detaining me and let me go on my way. no harm, no foul. what they did IMO, was reasonable and prudent.

    third day scenario. if he is a LEO, then by God, he better be identifying himself as such, or he is fair game, to be shot if i feel threatened or in fear for my life. that's his responsibilty to do. if i see a gun, but not a uniform or badge, i see a threat, not a LEO.
     
  15. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

    14,922
    0
    0
    Several years ago my brother-in-law (now estranged) was passed out in a chair in his garage after having had an argument with his wife where one of the neighbors called in a DD. This is in a rural neighborhood where closest houses are a couple hundred yards off. He ended up getting pistol whipped pretty badly by one of the deputies (bad bruises on both temples, bleeding from a punch in the center of the back by the muzzle of a gun- yes, I am sure it was done with a muzzle. Clear imprint in the bruise.) Would he have been in his rights to shoot the cop? I dunno.

    OK, now to look at your questions. I cannot say with any certainty what I would do in any of those given circumstances, but I probably would not shoot at them in any case. The last guy who is not in uniform? I would have my sidearm (presuming I have one) in my grip and ready to draw it, and try to put some distance between us and avoid a confrontation. If he were to come after me the gun would come out and if he raised his gun mine would be fired (hopefully before he gets a shot off).

    The troubling question here that is not yet asked, is in the case of the boy in Santa Rosa, the deputies were not acting with knowledge of any violent crime having been committed. Apparently they rolled up on the kid, called in for backup and then got out of the car to confront him. (I am unaware of whether any video of the confrontation exists) So, if the circumstances do not include any crime known to have been committed, why is it that the default action by police is to shoot the guy? I know that you can't predict what will happen (and it appears that this officer was frequently writing about hypotheticals similar to what did happen) but it seems to me that a cop would do everything they could to prevent shooting an innocent person, perhaps to the extent where they might sacrifice their own safety to do so. Unless, of course, they had this fantasy they are playing out in their heads where they shoot a bad guy, and that clouds their judgement somehow. You do hear about the cop who has never once drawn his weapon in his entire career, let alone fired it. Does that happen anymore?
     
  16. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

    5,221
    240
    63
    The bottom line is this: If you ever kill a cop, whether he had just cause to draw on you or not, your life as you know it is over. With a little luck, his fellow officers will kill you within minutes or hours of the incident and you will be out of your misery. With bad luck you will spend ten years on death row before having poison pumped into your body while people watch you die through the little window.

    I don't know where all of the fantasy situations come from. The chances of a law-abiding citizen being gunned-down by a rogue cop are less then you being struck by lightning. It happens, yes, but not often enough to worry about.
     
  17. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    ^^^ Yup, I was trying to distance from the "kid with fake AK thread gets shot" thread by asking when or for what reason we are not allowed to defend ourselves. The kid didn't have anything to defend himself with; i'm not familiar with the distance, attitude, etc. that the kid was encountering at the time, as the video and such details haven't been released.

    I think we have covered the "can't defend yourself against people in uniforms" angle, what about the attitude, armament, distance, and other disqualifiers as a reason not to defend yourself with a firearm when encountering an armed person? What about the age or physical condition of the armed person you have encountered; is that reason enough not to defend yourself?
     
  18. DeltaF

    DeltaF New Member

    3,210
    0
    0
    It is almost never a good idea to debate "lawful orders" on the side of the road.

    I'm not goin to address this from a legal perspective. Common sense and case law both agree that unless the cop is telling you to shoot yourself or something equally ridiculous, you should follow those orders and sue his pants off later.

    I will address this from a "how can you best survive this encounter" perspective.

    It is never a good idea to pick a fight with a K9. I've seen them drag a person across an entire parking lot and into a ditch, rip all of a persons clothes off, rip their entire calf muscle off, and eat the persons testicle. If a K9 is involved, slowly do what your told even if its rape a porcupine. If they're wrong, sue the crap out of them.

    If a cop has a gun on you, the dumbest possible thing that you could do is try to draw yours. You will get shot. He has the drop on you, is wearing body armor, has more ammo than you do, and also if his weapon is out, he has backup coming your way at 100 mph from every county on the radio frequency. Being dead kinda makes being right not matter anymore.

    Even If you win, you're looking at a minimum of lifetime in prison. And that's if they take it easy on you. His buddies will be thinking about you the way you would be thinking about someone who killed your brother or your dad and was still on the loose.

    If a cop is shooting at you, the smart thing to do first is to loudly let them know that you arent resisting and that you're recording everything on your phone. If that doesn't work, good luck. Do what you have to do. And pray very very hard. If you don't believe in God, now would be a good time to start.
     
  19. Axxe55

    Axxe55 The Apocalypse Is Coming.....

    7
    1
    0
    your last question, yes i believe so. it probably depends on what part of the department the LEO is with. patrol officer his entire career, might have more opportunities or need to draw his firearm. an officer in plainclothes or a detective doing investigations the majority of his career, might not ever have a need to draw his firearm.
     
  20. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    OK, we have a new time not to defend yourself; if the potential threat is a K9 (presumably a well-trained and probably also uniformed K9).