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Old September 19, 2012, 12:52 PM   #1
Rovert
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Non Lethal Options

I'm interested in hearing the viewpoints of those of you who have considered, might consider, or have already added, a NLD (Non Lethal Defense) option as part of your personal defensive strategy.

Though it's safe to say the vast majority of us here firmly believe in the right to self defense, there are still laws that oblige us to observe the Use Of Force continuum. In other words, we can't just blast someone for calling us a bad name, or shoving us while we wait in line for popcorn at the movies.

We all know laws vary from one state to the other and an engagement inside your home is far different than one outside. For instance, states like New Jersey have a 'retreat' requirement, and states like PA or FL have 'stand-your-ground' laws. Also, the Use Of Force (UOF) continuum differs depending on the scenario - either inside the home or out in public.

There may be many of you who are desirous of having a less-lethal option such as pepper spray or Taser / Stun Gun as an opportunity to give a moment of pause before the 'final option', even in a home defense scenario.

I was wondering if any of you have added, or have been considering, an NLD solution in tandem with your firearm(s) of choice, be it a handgun, shotgun or rifle. If so, what would it be, how would you employ it (weapon mount, pocket, etc) and under what scenarios do you envision having to use it?

Please confine your responses to Pepper Spray or Taser - something that can be used at standoff distances. I'm not looking for feedback on hand-to-hand stuff like martial arts or other methods.

Arguments pro and con are encouraged, let's just keep it civil.
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Old September 19, 2012, 01:00 PM   #2
allaroundhunter
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I carry pepper spray.

Quote:
In other words, we can't just blast someone for calling us a bad name, or shoving us while we wait in line for popcorn at the movies.
These are not necessarily situations in which you can legally use a taser or pepper spray, either. Unlike police officers, we (civilians) cannot use non-lethal force to gain compliance from another person; we use it as a line of defense from physical attack. I have never been shoved in line while at the movies, but I suppose that could be getting close to a situation in which I would employ pepper spray if the person was really looking for a fight.

If I am justified in using my pepper spray, it pretty much means that I am justified in using lethal force as well. Threatening a person with pepper spray carries the same charge as threatening them with a firearm. I will make the decision whether to use lethal force or pepper spray based on the situation, and the demeanor of the aggressor.

As an example, there is an intoxicated man approaching me, being very belligerent and threatening me. Depending on his level of intoxication (the more intoxicated he is, the less coordination and ability to land a punch), the situation could be de-escalated by using pepper spray instead of lethal force, even though if he makes one more step and takes a swing at me lethal force could very well be justified.

Quote:
There may be many of you who are desirous of having a less-lethal option such as pepper spray or Taser / Stun Gun as an opportunity to give a moment of pause before the 'final option', even in a home defense scenario.
In my home, non-lethal force is not an option. An intruder will either comply, run, or force me to use lethal force.

Last edited by allaroundhunter; September 19, 2012 at 01:10 PM.
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Old September 19, 2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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TFL policy; not firearms related...

The non-lethal or less-than-lethal topics/remarks are not considered "firearms related".

But to answer the member's question(s), I'd suggest having a non-lethal weapon to support/augment a firearm. Impact weapons, tactical pens, OC sprays, and Taser systems can help avoid a lethal force incident BUT remember that you(the armed license holder) are NOT a sworn LE officer or special agent.
Tasers(the C2 model) are very good, IMO for general use.
Many unstable or intoxicated subjects do not comply with most OC sprays-agents but there are a few brands worth using(Sabre Red, Vextor, First Defense).
Massad Ayoob, the author & legal use-of-force expert wrote about Mako Group's new polymer impact weapon. It is lightweight(9.1oz) and has a glass breaker function built into the design.
That could be handy in a emergency.
In closing, if you choose to buy any non-lethal devices, get documented skill training(that may help in court) and know the local laws re; use of force.
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Old September 19, 2012, 01:57 PM   #4
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I am pretty sure that impact weapons and tactical pens are considered "deadly," not "non-lethal" nor "less-than-lethal."

That does not mean they don't have applications, but without justification for their use I would anticipate charges of "assault with a deadly weapon".
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Old September 19, 2012, 02:53 PM   #5
Rovert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allaroundhunter
If I am justified in using my pepper spray, it pretty much means that I am justified in using lethal force as well.
Careful! That's not legally correct in all cases and especially not in all states. I'd caution you about the "pretty much" part of your statement. Check with a lawyer in your jurisdiction. Regarding your view on home intrusion, do you see no situation where spraying an intruder as an option or prelude to shooting him/her is a potentially preferable solution?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClydeFrog
The non-lethal or less-than-lethal topics/remarks are not considered "firearms related".
Which is why I pose the question specifically as it relates to firearms where I asked: "I was wondering if any of you have added, or have been considering, an NLD solution in tandem with your firearm(s) of choice, be it a handgun, shotgun or rifle."

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
I am pretty sure that impact weapons and tactical pens are considered "deadly," not "non-lethal" nor "less-than-lethal."
Kindly note I inquired ONLY after Pepper/Chemical Spray or Taser.
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
In other words, we can't just blast someone for calling us a bad name, or shoving us while we wait in line for popcorn at the movies.
If you're armed and get in a fight over something that minor, you should turn in your gun.

There are times when someone's being a jerk and you can't just get away. That's why I carry a stungun in addition to my XDm 9mm.
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:22 PM   #7
allaroundhunter
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Quote:
Careful! That's not legally correct in all cases and especially not in all states. I'd caution you about the "pretty much" part of your statement. Check with a lawyer in your jurisdiction. Regarding your view on home intrusion, do you see no situation where spraying an intruder as an option or prelude to shooting him/her is a potentially preferable solution?
I was careful, hence the "pretty much". I have talked to lawyers, and pepper spray while most of the time "non lethal", is still considered a weapon and is still subject to the same charges that brandishing and using a gun would be when used improperly.

Are there situations in which I would rather use pepper spray because it would end a confrontation (most likely) without killing my aggressor? Yes. But most all of those situations I am equally justified in drawing my firearm as well. If someone is calling me a name, I am not justified in doing anything other than either ignore him, or walk away. Presenting pepper spray, a taser, or a firearm will all result in you getting cuffs slapped on you. If you are in a movie theater and you are pushed while in the line, you should walk away.

If the man follows you into the parking lot and wants a fight, call the police, but also be prepared to defend yourself. He has already pushed you and followed you outside, thereby showing that his intentions are not good. Pepper spray is a good option here, but if he continues to press the attack, using a firearm is equally justified.


And as far as using pepper spray in my home? No. Pepper spray is not an option. If you have broken into my home then you have already made your intentions clear, and they are not good. I am not saying that I am going to shoot immediately, but you have made your intentions clear, so I will draw and present my weapon and make my intentions equally clear.

The problem with pepper spray is that you have to be very close (almost contact distance) for it to be effective. That means that if you are being assaulted and need it, again, use of lethal force is also justified. If I am in my home, I am most definitely not going to move closer to an intruder so as to pepper spray him. I will draw my weapon, and if he advances on me, he has left me with no other options than to fire.
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:46 PM   #8
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Even with the "pretty much" emphasized, I don't agree with the statement above that if you are justified in spraying someone you are justified in shooting them.

I know it depends on the State, but non-deadly force is ok to the extent it is reasonably believed to be necessary to prevent the other's use of force against you. Deadly force requires a reasonable believe that your life is in danger or that you will be severely injured.

Being slapped around or punched would certainly justify retaliating in kind, and it might well justify spraying or shocking someone. I guess that's up to the jury. But shooting them? I don't think so.

As to the OP, I've been tased and sprayed in training. I didn't like either. I don't carry either. If I did, I'd use the spray. With my luck the incident would take place in the winter and the guy's coat would get in the way of the taser.

Another reason not to have these things is personal. I'd probably use them on the Chihuahua that lives down the road from us. This being Texas, his owner would probably shoot me. Then my kin would go after him etc etc. I hate that dog.
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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I'm in agreement with Allaroundhunter here.
And I'll add that I'd hate to have used the stuff and just made the attacker madder. That does happen sometimes. Keep in mind that if the aggressor is on drugs, you could be dealing with an animal as oppsoed to angry Joe Q Citizen.
Ever watch 'Cops'? Some of those animals just keep fighting even when 4 LEO's are on top of them.
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:59 PM   #10
allaroundhunter
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Quote:
but non-deadly force is ok to the extent it is reasonably believed to be necessary to prevent the other's use of force against you. Deadly force requires a reasonable believe that your life is in danger or that you will be severely injured.
Okay, let me quote the Texas laws regarding the justifiable use of deadly force (I am quoting Texas law because that is what applies to me, and is what I have been talking about).

Quote:
Sec. 9.22. NECESSITY
Conduct is justified if:

(1) the actor reasonably believes the conduct is immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm;
It does not say severe injury, it says "imminent harm". We do not have to prove that the aggressor was just going to push us once or twice. If he has shown that he will promote a physical attack, he has shown that he will do you harm.

Quote:
Being slapped around or punched would certainly justify retaliating in kind, and it might well justify spraying or shocking someone. I guess that's up to the jury. But shooting them? I don't think so.
Would being punched count as "imminent harm"? There aren't many definitions there, and being assaulted definitely qualifies...


And I will quote the statute that says verbal confrontation is not enough for any use of force:

Quote:
b) The use of force against another is not justified:

(1) in response to verbal provocation alone;
I will also add that in Texas, when done properly and under the right circumstances, presenting a weapon does not constitute deadly force, it is still a non-lethal option to end a physical confrontation:

Quote:
Sec. 9.04. THREATS AS JUSTIFIABLE FORCE. The threat of force is justified when the use of force is justified by this chapter. For purposes of this section, a threat to cause death or serious bodily injury by the production of a weapon or otherwise, as long as the actor's purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute the use of deadly force.

Last edited by allaroundhunter; September 19, 2012 at 04:08 PM.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allaroundhunder
Sec. 9.22. NECESSITY
Conduct is justified if:
(1) the actor reasonably believes the conduct is immediately necessary to avoid imminent harm;
I think you might be making a mistake by not understanding that the law is still going to recognize granularity from where 'necessity' starts. Though the authorization for use of force to avoid 'imminent harm' might begin at 'necessity' it doesn't absolve you of 'extremity'. At least, that's the way the local DA might look at it.

Remember that even after the criminal charges (or lack thereof) are addressed, the civil actions begin, and there's a different kettle of fish because different standards are applied. However, you're welcome to your opinion, I only hope you don't confuse personal opinion for legal fact and real-world possibilities by assuming that the moment you pass 'necessity' that it's a green light to pull the trigger and receive a free 'get out of jail' card.

That said, you made your case. Now, let's let other folks chime in with other viewpoints.
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Old September 19, 2012, 07:47 PM   #12
ClydeFrog
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Do not provoke, do not pursue

As I posted, as a armed citizen, you do NOT have the same powers or legal authority as a sworn LE officer.
If you can leave or "flee" a scene before it extends to a lethal force event you are required to do so(in my state).
If a aggressive subject is unarmed but may advance on you, you would be able to deploy a OC spray, Taser/C2 or impact weapon.
With the George Zimmerman hysteria going on, it's important to understand the use-of-force standards in your area.
IMO, many sheriffs & police chiefs could do a lot more to clarify what the legal standards-laws are but they avoid it for political-legal reasons.

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Old September 19, 2012, 08:14 PM   #13
Rovert
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Guys, I appreciate everyone's feedback, but now that we've beaten the legal aspect horse to death, I'm interested in hearing specifically from those who are, or might, consider NLD solutions in tandem with a sidearm.

Thanks!
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Old September 20, 2012, 05:33 AM   #14
Pistolgripshotty
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I don't really believe in non lethal defense. I am not offensive in any way and don't like to start confrontation but if I am forced to be defensive, I am going to be a lethal as I can. Hey buddy how about a 000 buck???
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Old September 20, 2012, 08:39 AM   #15
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@Rovert, I apologize for revisiting the law thing again, but I think that @allaroundhunter's statement requires a response. Then I'll shut up. Promise.

@allaroundhunter, The section you quoted on necessity is one of a few sections that provide the general rationale for justifying otherwise criminal conduct which is the subject of chapter 9. When there is no specific applicable section in the chapter on justification, these sections can be used to fill in the gaps.

However, there are very specific provision concering the justifiable use of force. You must - at a minimum - read section 9.32 (Deadly Force) and 9.31 (Force). These are the sections that will apply if force is used. Stripped of the Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine provisions, it's pretty much the same as anywhere else in the country. If you want to understand what a defense is and what a presumption is, you will also need to read part of chapter 2. It's really chapter 2 that gives the law in Texas its own special flavor.

Last edited by Woody55; September 21, 2012 at 10:42 AM.
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Old September 20, 2012, 08:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pistolgripshotty
I don't really believe in non lethal defense. I am not offensive in any way and don't like to start confrontation but if I am forced to be defensive, I am going to be a lethal as I can. Hey buddy how about a 000 buck???
Then you should make some effort to learn and understand the laws relating to the use of force. There are circumstances in which the use of lethal force will be inappropriate and land you in jail.
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Old September 20, 2012, 09:17 AM   #17
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Frank is so correct. It points out the need for legit FOF training.

I suspect that if you shoot an aggressive panhandler, you may not have a good time. One should read the Texas code and take the TX CHL course to learn about the appropriate levels of force.

Not understanding such is just feeding into the blood lust on the streets antigun mantra.
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Old September 20, 2012, 10:15 AM   #18
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i would consider carrying bear spray while hiking in bear country. I can't see myself carrying pepper spray or a taser as part of my every day carry set up.
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Old September 20, 2012, 02:19 PM   #19
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Options for use-of-force & non-lethal weapons...

There are a few situations that could warrant using a Taser or OC spray BUT you(as a private citizen) need to be fully aware of how you'll defend your actions later.
With a knife, impact weapon(PR24, ASP etc) or other system YOU may be considered the aggressor by the responding LE officers or the media.
Street people, junkies, etc can and do show up at events all the time. You may look like a victim but that could quickly turn very ugly.

I'd add that to avoid conflicts or events that could lead to a dispute is the best step. Panhandlers or street people have nothing to gain or lose by being arrested. They get off the streets for a few days or weeks.
Is a fight or use-of-force incident really worth it?

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Old September 20, 2012, 02:47 PM   #20
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Having used pepper spray for real on more than a few occasions, I will caution you to be prepared for the possibility that it might not be as effective as you hope [just like firearms]. I've seen both people and animals shrug it off like water. Ditto for tasers. By all means, add it to your HD/SD arsenal, because not all defensive situations call for firearms, but I'm just saying, is all. There are no guarantees.
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Old September 20, 2012, 04:28 PM   #21
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I know the oriental art of run foo...... avoid it and dont worry bout it, if in need skip the shower for a few days, that always works for me....

In this day and age do people still fisticuff it? I doubt it, most pull and shoot. so best to just be nice as pie, smile a lot, be friendly to one and all. Offer to help when needed, that always throws them off....
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Old September 20, 2012, 07:47 PM   #22
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I'm not a big fan of non lethal weapons, though I agree 100% that most altercations don't need to end with gunshots.

To stay out of trouble I tend to rely heavily on my manners, my physique, my beard, my tattoos, and my general lack of things worth stealing

But in all seriousness, slipping a class on deescalation techniques in between gun classes is probably a good idea. Maybe a few unarmed self defense classes too - Personally I find sparing a far more fun method of keeping the belly at bay than running

The problem that seems to exist with less lethal weapons is that they seem to mostly rely on pain. And as the majority of violent crimes these days are committed by people abusing some sort of substance, they may not react to pain the way we would hope.
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Old September 21, 2012, 06:52 AM   #23
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Ok this is all I'm saying...when SHTF in a life or death situation (which happens somewhere everyday in this world) its either YOU or the OTHER guy (i.e. bad guy). I mean if someone were to break in your home or stick you up at the ATM, you guys mean to tell me that your going to be polite and offer them a glass of water and a turkey sandwich and say; Hey thanks for stopping by and robbing me!!!!
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:13 AM   #24
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Quote:
Ok this is all I'm saying...when SHTF in a life or death situation (which happens somewhere everyday in this world) its either YOU or the OTHER guy (i.e. bad guy). I mean if someone were to break in your home or stick you up at the ATM, you guys mean to tell me that your going to be polite and offer them a glass of water and a turkey sandwich and say; Hey thanks for stopping by and robbing me!!!!
Really?! This is your response to a discussion of non-lethal force? As Glenn said, this is the type of rhetoric that adds fuel to the antigun machine.
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Old September 21, 2012, 07:55 AM   #25
Rovert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody55
@Rovert, I apologize for revisiting the law thing again, but I think that @allaroundhunter's statement requires a response.
No worries. I very much agree with your statements, and so would a Prosecutor. There's obviously so much disinformation and subjective opinion that it helps clear up the gray area whenever possible. I think if 'allaroundhunter' presented his questions to those lawyer friends of his with as much hyperbole and as obliquely as he did here, it's no surprise he got the answer that he did. One can always engineer a set of questions to arrive at a preordained conclusion. Ask any political pollster.

Fellas, please don't think that just because you may have Castle Doctrine or even Stand-Your-Ground laws that it's a magic shield. I'm not suggesting that any of you lack self control, I'm only suggesting that it's always better to know the law and understand what's at stake the moment you decide to pull the trigger. A good Use Of Force class helps sift out the testosterone from the truth. Hence, my question about options that are between evasion/retreat and a lethal response.

Carry on.
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