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Shakgul
March 3, 2012, 08:53 PM
What is a reasonable threat? I live in Georgia and there is a video of some gang bangers beating a gay dude on the internet. Now why they did not do any great harm they could of, if he was armed could he of shot them? Do they have to be using a weapon or if someone threatens you with any violence can you defend your self?

ATW525
March 3, 2012, 09:36 PM
"Disparity of Force" is a legal concept that would likely apply if you found yourself outnumbered. Of course, remember that even if you're justified in using deadly force, there will always be people who will say, "But they were unarmed, why did he have to shoot them?" I don't say that to make you doubt yourself should you find yourself in such a situation, but rather to prepare you for some of the attitudes you'll likely experience after it's over.

kinggabby
March 3, 2012, 09:36 PM
Don't know about GA but in Oklahoma I believe you could. Here there has to be a reasonably fear for life or serious harm .

sam colt
March 3, 2012, 09:37 PM
In NC, if he felt in fear for his life, yes he could have used deadly force to protect himself. However, if he produced a firearm and they fled then he could not shoot them. Shooting in the back is always very hard to explain to a jury.

pjp74
March 3, 2012, 10:29 PM
I believe here in Texas you could also use lethal force to defend yourself from a group, even if they were unarmed, disparity of force would apply, provided you were in fear of your life. I hope to never be in that position, but I would like to think that I wouldn't hesitate to defend myself or a loved one, if being attacked by a group of armed or unarmed persons.

Grant D
March 3, 2012, 10:31 PM
This brings to mind the term, he was beat to death, I'm not going to take the chance of allowing that to happen to me.

kinggabby
March 3, 2012, 10:34 PM
In NC, if he felt in fear for his life, yes he could have used deadly force to protect himself. However, if he produced a firearm and they fled then he could not shoot them. Shooting in the back is always very hard to explain to a jury. So true in most states if you shoot someone fleeing and hit or kill them you are in serious doo doo . It would either be assault with a deadly weapon or murder. Always look at the laws in the state where you live.

ChileVerde1
March 3, 2012, 10:39 PM
If you can REASONABLY articulate fear of death or grievous bodily harm to you or others you can make an argument for use of deadly force most anywhere. Notice I said make an argument. There is never a clear cut case of use of lethal force not even for cops.

Now they'll ask could you have avoided the situation? Were you looking for trouble? Other stuff like that. That's why as a career LEO I tell people to avoid those stupid concealed carry license badges and other stuff that may make you look to some DA, a jury, or cops that arrive on scene like a wannabe or gun shop commando. Your CC License entitles you to carry so be discreet avoid trouble and when all else fails and the conditions above are met do what you feel you have to. You cannot worry about what may happen if in your reasonable mind you fear for your life of for the life of others.

m&p45acp10+1
March 3, 2012, 10:39 PM
In Texas I believe that there was an amendment to the carry law stating that if it looked like a possible force situation you could legaly draw, and present the weapon. So if you found yourself with a group of people that approached in a hostile way and you draw, and tell them to go away you would not be charged with the brandinshing, or assault with a deadly weapon. If they continued to approach afterwards and deadly force were used I seriously doubt that a grand jury would charge someone. (In Texas if deadly force is used a person has to appear before a grand jury. If they rule it is justified then that waves you from civil lawsuits.)

Note that if they already are physicaly attacking you it is perfectly legal to use deadly force to stop an assault of yourself or another person.

joegator
March 3, 2012, 10:50 PM
In Florida you are permitted to stand your ground. Deadly force is legal if you have a reasonable belief that you are in danger of death or serious harm. Even if the attacker is unarmed and alone. There is no requirement for a law abiding citizen to be beaten to death just because he was attacked by a lone unarmed assailant.

Spats McGee
March 3, 2012, 11:53 PM
Caveat: I'm a lawyer, but I'm not a Georgia lawyer, and I'm not your lawyer. This post isn't legal advice. Relying on free advice, given by random, unknown people on the internet can be risky, particularly when your question is: "When can I shoot someone?"[/caveat]

With that said, and as others have noted, self-defense doctrines are matters of state law. A quick internet search turned up the following for Georgia:

O.C.G.A. 16-3-21 (2010)
16-3-21. Use of force in defense of self or others; evidence of belief that force was necessary in murder or manslaughter prosecution


(a) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force; however, except as provided in Code Section 16-3-23, a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(b) A person is not justified in using force under the circumstances specified in subsection (a) of this Code section if he:

(1) Initially provokes the use of force against himself with the intent to use such force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant;

(2) Is attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or attempted commission of a felony; or

(3) Was the aggressor or was engaged in a combat by agreement unless he withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person his intent to do so and the other, notwithstanding, continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful force. . . . .<edited for brevity>
Source: http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-16/chapter-3/article-2/16-3-21/

Note that there are other relevant statutes out there that would need to be examined by someone licensed to practice in Georgia, but that looks like the primary one.

Shakgul
March 4, 2012, 02:53 AM
That explains a lot I had never heard of the term "disparity of force" before
So that is where the confusion came in on reading the law. What is a reasonable threat to an 100 pound woman might not be a reasonable threat to an 180 lb. Man.

Frank Ettin
March 4, 2012, 03:09 AM
...What is a reasonable threat to an 100 pound woman might not be a reasonable threat to an 180 lb. Man. That's true. If you chose to use lethal force to defend yourself, you will need to be able to articulate why you decided that you were reasonably in fear of immediate death or grave bodily injury.

gvw3
March 4, 2012, 07:25 AM
You are talking about a group of gang bangers. In this case even if they are unarmed I would say you have the right to defend yourself. This is not a one on one confrontation. There could be a good chance they will kill you.

I live in one of the only state that has no conceal carry law. So we don't have the right to defend ourself even in this situation. We are trying to change this but so far have made little progress.

TexasJustice7
March 4, 2012, 07:49 AM
gvw3: You are talking about a group of gang bangers. In this case even if they are unarmed I would say you have the right to defend yourself. This is not a one on one confrontation. There could be a good chance they will kill you.

I live in one of the only state that has no conceal carry law. So we don't have the right to defend ourself even in this situation. We are trying to change this but so far have made little progress.

I am happy that I live in Texas, a state where one has the right to stand our ground and defend yourself. I refuse to patronize any place located where my Texas gun permit is not honored. We also have gangbangers in Texas as well but any place that I cannot legally carry I refuse to go there unless I am compelled to go. I just made two purchases totalling about $1400 at two different stores, and if either of them restricted my right to carry I would have found another store. I could never live anywhere that my basic right to defend myself was denied. :eek:

insomni
March 4, 2012, 01:11 PM
in TX he could have shot all of them and walked home from court a free man. considering
1. a resonable person could have feared for their life (or grievous bodily harm), or the life of someone else (key point)
2. he made a REASONABLE attempt to retreat before shooting (1 step backwards while drawing usually suffices when being persued)
3. he stopped firing once the threat was no more (read: work on shooting in the T)


God bless Texas! One of the last states where one is actually free to defend themselves and those around them from criminals.

Oysterboy
March 4, 2012, 04:13 PM
Being 61 going on to 62 next month and disabled here. I fear that a younger, stronger and/or bigger BG may assail me so I can use lethal force knowing that I cannot fight back?

I never provoked anyone for any reason and never responded to such thing like flipping off a finger or name calling. Yes, I get that and I think they see me as an easy mark.

Did I behave right? Since I don't provoke or respond to any I should be able to use lethal force if necessary?

Shakgul
March 4, 2012, 04:32 PM
Yes this guy was tiny and it was about 6 of them, including the guy filming it the only thing thst saved him I think was they really did not know how to fight. Which brings up another thing Georgia passes the stand your ground law but in a state with out it do you think one can retreat from six people? Any thoughts thoughts on avoiding a group or creating enough space to draw your weapon?

trex1310
March 4, 2012, 05:24 PM
I sometimes read posts on threads like this where someone might
believe that pulling their firearm is enough to convince a person or
persons to stop their behavior. I believe that if the situation is
severe enough to pull your gun it is (or should be) severe enough
to use it. Pulling your weapon as a deterent is, imho, bad juju and
could get you killed.

Crankgrinder
March 4, 2012, 07:19 PM
i believe trex is right a mob of six guys if he pulls and fails to use at the right moment he may just end up having it used on him! I also live in Texas have my whole life. I believe there is a law here stating something to the effect that if one is outnumbered by more than so many that lethal force can be used. I am no lawyer but outnumbered by six guys id have to take my chances there. Also, where i live there are "gang injunctions". Yes hispanic (mexican) hoodlums banded together have created enough problems here that laws have been passed against such activity and the gang does not have to be mexican. This gives one an extra measure of leaverage in court should one have to defend themselves from mobs of hoodlums.

m&p45acp10+1
March 4, 2012, 07:32 PM
In Texas there is no duty to retreat. That was taken care of in 2007 when they changed the law, and added the castle doctrine, and lawful right to be laws. (You do not have to flee if you are somewhere you have a lawful right to be. You may use deadly force to defend yourself without having to attempt retreat.)

Also they made it legal to carry a hangun locked and loaded in ones car as long as it concealed, and on body as long as in the car, or from your place of residence to your car is legal.

Friar Whently
March 4, 2012, 08:34 PM
One thing I've wondered is the definition of "great/grievous bodily harm" when it comes to use of deadly force to defend yourself. Where is the line drawn? At what point is enough bodily harm done to count? A black eye? A lost tooth? A broken jaw? Broken ribs/limbs?

Bartholomew Roberts
March 5, 2012, 09:04 AM
One thing I've wondered is the definition of "great/grievous bodily harm" when it comes to use of deadly force to defend yourself. Where is the line drawn?

Usually this will be interpreted by your state's case law on the subject (past cases that revolved around this issue) or sometimes it will be specifically defined in statute.

For example, Section 1.07 of the Texas Penal Code defines "bodily injury" as "physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition," and it defines "serious bodily injury" as "bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ."

So looking at some of your examples:
A black eye?
So this is not a permanent disfigurement or likely to cause protracted loss of function. It also does not cause death - and while a black eye in and of itself does not create a substantial risk of death, a grown adult hitting you in the head certainly has that potential depending on the circumstances; but overall, probably not serious bodily injury under Texas law.

A broken jaw?

Somebody is hitting you in the head hard enough to break bone. This can and has caused death. A broken jaw is also likely to cause "protracted loss of function." I think a good argument can be made that this is "serious bodily injury" under Texas law.


Of course, those are not authoritative answers that you can take to the bank; but they do explain how the court will try and answer the question of whether it was serious bodily injury under Texas law. And like everything, a lot will depend on the specific facts of your case. Your state may have a different way of defining that which changes when you can use it.

TexasJustice7
March 5, 2012, 11:57 AM
BartholmewRoberts: For example, Section 1.07 of the Texas Penal Code defines "bodily injury" as "physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition," and it defines "serious bodily injury" as "bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ."

Texas is one of the states where deadly force can be used to protect property as well, even when no threat of serious bodily injury exists. The following Texas Statutes applies and is not limited to just one's own property. As has been previously stated, one needs to know exactly what the laws in their state are. A person from Texas in some other state that
used deadly force might very well not be within the law in the same situtation. So in 9.41 3(a) below, if he believes that the land or the property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means, and
this does not require that he be in fear of serious bodily injury before using deadly force, although it is mentioned in the section following it. But certainly nobody can utilize this information and apply it to any other state, even if they have a recipricoal agreement or unilateral one with Texas. I try to read the statutes of any other state I might travel in.

A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:

(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and

(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or

(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and

(3) he reasonably believes that:

(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Oysterboy
March 5, 2012, 01:14 PM
What about vandalism? Like breaking out car windows?

Also you said nighttime so what about daytime?

TexasJustice7
March 5, 2012, 02:13 PM
Oysterboy: What about vandalism? Like breaking out car windows?

Also you said nighttime so what about daytime?

Well what I quoted was the Texas Statute. More leeway is given for protecting property at night, in Texas it appears to me. I am not saying that this is right or wrong, just that the law in Texas does not require a person to be in fear of grave bodily injury or death before using deadly force. And this same person in another state, could face serious charges for using deadly force where the law is different. In the OP's posting the guy was in my opinion in fear of serious bodily injury or death because he fled to what he perceived a safe place, a police station. Of course people who don't agree with the laws in any state or free to move somewhere else, or work to have them changed. We as permit holders are have the obligation to know what they are where we live, I think.

Crioche
March 5, 2012, 02:46 PM
As a Brit is difficult to comment on US Law - probably because I don't know anything about it!

As a former soldier who spent 6 years in Northern Ireland where the locals could be very hostile to us, I can emphathise with the 'gang bangers' scenario. We offered a simple phrase that it was 'better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6'.

What it means is that if you have that right to self defence using lethal force, then have the moral courage to shoot to kill in a confrontation where your life is on the line. Afterward stand up before 12 of your peers in court and say with conviction that you shot the other person to save your own life.

Bartholomew Roberts
March 6, 2012, 10:40 AM
Texas is one of the states where deadly force can be used to protect property as well, even when no threat of serious bodily injury exists.

Yes; I was trying to explain what constituted a "serious bodily injury" of the type that justified deadly force. I was using the Texas statute defining "serious bodily injury" to help show how courts might interpret that.

I'm not understanding why the Texas law on deadly force in defense of property is relevant to this thread? And incidentally, the part of Texas law that you quoted is Section 9.42 of the Penal Code, not Section 9.41 (which deals with non-deadly force to protect property).

TexasJustice7
March 6, 2012, 12:41 PM
Bartholmew Roberts: Yes; I was trying to explain what constituted a "serious bodily injury" of the type that justified deadly force. I was using the Texas statute defining "serious bodily injury" to help show how courts might interpret that.....

Your right, my 9.42 not 9.41. In view of the discussion regarding serious bodily injury or fear of serious bodily injury as the basis for use of deadly force, I was merely pointing out that in some States, at least in Texas,
that deadly force may be used withiout one being in fear of serious bodily injury. I would venture to guess that probably a lot of people believe that
it should be required before deadly force be used in all cases. I won't take
either side of that, just try to understand the laws I must folllow where I
live or travel, pertaining to use of deadly force. :o

lincoln5
March 6, 2012, 01:48 PM
Just my two cents on this thread as a LEO. I 100% agree with the earlier poster on this thread about those extremely stupid CCW badges. Also, one thing you need to remember regarding multiple assailants and gang-bangers when dealing with them is that they are going to "lie like hell", even under oath, about what happened. Food for thought. Oh and one other small issue I have with this thread. Every LEO and criminal attorney knows about the Tennesee vs. Garner decision, it's taught in every law enforcement academy in the U.S. and I would assume, every law school as well.

tepin
March 6, 2012, 11:25 PM
Another thought... the prosecutor gets to decide what is reasonable and if his definition doesn't align with yours, 12 jurors get to decide and in many cases these folks wont be gun people and will know nothing about self defense and the law.