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Old December 16, 2012, 08:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: June 5, 2012
Location: Philadelphia
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The Perfect Self Defense ? When can I pull the trigger?

The more I see.. The less I know. What does it take for a successful defense of your life or body so you won't be arrested or sued? What does bodily harm mean? Can fear for my safety include just a broken jaw or the loss of teeth? Does the BG have to have a weapon? Does he/she have to be bigger than me? Do I need a witness to that fact? Do I have to show restraint before pulling the trigger? What does that look like?

Yes I am in fear of my life, but also in fear of a jail sentence or law suit if I defend myself incorrectly. What must I do to be "politically correct" when confronted with bodily harm? When can I pull the trigger?

Love to CC but lots of questions.
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Old December 16, 2012, 08:56 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Read this

and pretty much everything else on that site too.
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
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Old December 17, 2012, 05:04 PM   #3
Spats McGee
Join Date: July 28, 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 7,143
First, my usual caveat: I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. I'm also not licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Accordingly, what follows is simply my commentary, not legal advice. If you want some honest-to-goodness legal advice, go find a lawyer who is well-versed in firearms law and criminal defense law, and licensed in your jurisdiction . . . and buy an hour's worth of time for a consult. Spend some time doing some research and writing down questions that you may have. That will help you spend your hour wisely.

With that said, self-defense is a matter of state law, so you really need to know what your state says on the subject. While there may be a "perfect" SD case, they are few and far between. You'll need to read your state statutes on the subject, as well as the cases that have been handed down from the highest court in your state. Brian Pfleuger has already directed you to one very good resource on the subject. You might also simply browse through some of the old threads here in Law & Civil Rights for discussions about SD principles. Bear in mind though, that regardless of what we may say in threads here, it's the law in your jurisdiction that counts.

Welcome to The Firing Line!
I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. If you need some honest-to-goodness legal advice, go buy some.
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:28 AM   #4
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Location: Northern Colorado
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Your question should be, "when do I have to pull the trigger"? Make yourself aware of all the possible consequences of shooting another human being. Then when a situation arises, ask yourself if the cosequences of not shooting (being dead) out weigh the consequences of shooting.
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:31 AM   #5
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 7,497
One more piece of reading material: "What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know about Self - Defense Law" by Marty Hayes.

Hope it helps.

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
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Old December 18, 2012, 09:35 AM   #6
Frank Ettin
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
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Here's another good resource on the Internet: Also, you might want to get a copy of Massad Ayoob's book, In the Gravest Extreme.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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Old December 18, 2012, 10:11 AM   #7
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Location: NY State
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Spend some time and money to take the best defensif shooting course you can find !! It will be worth every penny !
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old December 18, 2012, 11:08 AM   #8
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My opinion only. Pulling the trigger is the absolute last thing you want to do. In a best case scenario you will go broke defending yourself in court. Keep in mind I live in NJ where we are not legaly allowed to defend ourselves. Im not a coward but I will run (as long as family is safe) before I fight. Because by winning I will have at the least to defend myself against assualt charges at worst be charged with man slaughter.
Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
Milton Freidman
"If you find yourself in a fair fight,,,
Your tactics suck"
- Unknown
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Old December 19, 2012, 08:30 AM   #9
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Join Date: May 1, 2010
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Mindset, training, laws, marksmanship....

There are a few factors to consider about guns & lethal force before you "pull the trigger".
First, I'd say "have a gun". It sounds simple but you can't defend yourself or deploy lethal force w/o a loaded firearm. The recent CT school shooting incident reminds me of the Bay County Florida school board incident a few years ago.
The district's security director saw the unstable subject in the meeting but was unarmed. He had to rush to his vehicle & obtain his sidearm then run back into the room. The violent felon even stated; "he doesn't have a gun" to the sacred witnesses. The security director(a retired LE officer) shot the deranged man who later died.
Mindset is important too. I'm reading On Killing by LTC David Grossman(US Army retired). This is the 2009 version. He goes into detail about combat, death, emotions(remorse-guilt), PTSD, and other issues that are a part of killing human beings. On Killing is a highly rated book by military officials & a few federal LE agencies(FBI DEA).
As for the legal standards, I'd read or see the material of Massad Ayoob. Ayoob is a instructor, match shooter, writer, and legal use of force expert. He explains many legal & civil law issues to the general public.
I'd also know & understand your local area's gun and lethal force laws. Don't go by "bar talk" or the gun shop rangers either. See or atty David Wong's legal guide to gun & knife laws. The popular site helps too.
In closing, be fully ready to deploy lethal force BEFORE you carry a firearm for protection. If you are uneasy or unsure, DO NOT do it. Weapons, training AND the proper mindset are required for carrying a firearm.

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ccw , self defense

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