Defense of others in a church or public setting

Is it lawful to shoot someone in the back if they are threatening/and or in the act of causing bodily harm to some one else. Is there a different answer if they are armed or not.

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Of course it is, and no, armed or not is not the issue. The issue is does the person present a reasonable threat of death or great bodily harm? A punch can kill someone, so “armed” or not, is not the factor.


Welcome to the family brother @CEASAR and you are in the right place at the right time.


Welcome from me as well, and dang, what a first question. Pretty sure you’d have your answer after a lengthy court trial. Lot of variables, prosecutor, witnesses, locale among them.




It would seem to me a cut and dry question and answer. Saving some one’s life in a split decision like that should be easy right, but I’m starting to think that CCW is not worth the trouble.

Hello and welcome @CEASAR great first question.
Is your life also in immediate danger? Is the attacker a threat to others also or is it just one person? Is the attacker actually trying to retreat from a threat from someone else?
Lots of whats and ifs


If you think the question you posed, with the amount of detail you provided, is a cut and dry question and answer, then perhaps carrying a deadly weapon is not a good fit for you at this time.

If a 12 year old unarmed girl is threatening to poke an NFL lineback in the calf with a blunt stick they picked up off the ground, no, it would not be lawful to shoot that girl in the back, despite the fact that she was a person threatening bodily harm to someone else.

As this should illustrate, there are, as was mentioned above, a lot of variables.

The best way to get hypothetical questions answered is to provide video of a real life scenario, that way a whole bunch of variables (totality of circumstances) can be seen. A picture is worth 1k words and video is priceless

Even that may not be a cut and dry answer, because, even video won’t show all factors involved.

But, as was also references, after a trial, you may find out if it was lawful or not


Please re-visit this string regularly. Lots of ideas should be forth coming, but may take some time. To say it’s complicated is understatement.

Of course, if someone’s shot in the back, as opposed to front, you’ll be even further scrutinized. I imagine in an event, it happens so fast, lots of factors come into play.

Including state, region, peers on the jury, judge. Ask lawyers.

Not only is good judgement and restraint critical, so is safety when handling, due to the extreme risks of a firearm. Not everyone should own or CCW.

Training, education first, or just don’t own or CCW. Good post friend.


So, the first thing that’s pretty easy to make as a generalized statement…firearms are always going to be considered lethal force, shooting at somebody with any firearm you should 100% expect to be considered lethal force…and generally, lethal force is only justified and lawful when there is a reasonable belief/threat of serious bodily harm or death (or similar language, check your local laws and laws of everywhere you go)…and generally that imminent threat of serious harm/death must be something you could not safely avoid through other means, something that lesser force could not prevent as effectively as lethal force.

You can sometimes think of it as ability, opportunity, actual jeopardy…or as a weapon capable of delivering the lethal/serious harm, a delivery system for that weapon, and intent. Different ways of communicating the same basic principles.

As you can probably see at this point, these things are completely impossible to even guess at based on the very vague, limited information presented in the original.

Also, laws vary, and some areas have rather different laws for using force in defense of a third party as opposed to yourself, as well as the practical consideration of, are you sure that what you think is happening, is what’s really happening? Are you, bet your life in prison after financial ruin level of sure?


No, far from cut and dry. Perceptions can be misconstrued. The truth can get twisted. This is why the court system is so massive and lawyers and judges get the big bucks.
Three sides to every story. Your side, my side, and the truth.


As others have stated above, the details matter and nothing in life is cut and dry. In the laws that I have read just causing bodily harm would not justify shooting someone in the back, front or side. They must be causing or imminently about to cause great bodily harm or death to you or another. Someone giving someone else a black eye won’t cut it. A “reasonable person” would need to agree with your assessment that the person was a significant and imminent threat to you or other innocent people.

More importantly the responding law enforcement officers, local prosecutor and potentially jurors would also have to be reasonable people agreeing with your decision. But they will have the advantage of hindsight and the time to calmly review all the facts that you likely did not have access to in that moment. Along with the disadvantage of their own personal biases and the biases of those presenting the “facts” to them.

Using lethal force is a last resort. Make sure there are no other options. If defending someone who is not family or a close friend you better be sure they are truly the victim in this confrontation. And make sure it is worth risking your life, freedom and family’s future for this person. Or you can take the “safe” path and stand by or walk away while someone is getting severely harmed or killed. The choice is yours and neither one will likely be easy to live with.

Choosing to take charge of you and your family’s safety and security is not an easy path. Especially with all the anti self defense laws in many parts of this country. But I think for most of us here, taking on that responsibility beats leaving the choice of whether we get to live or die in the hands of criminals, thugs and despots.


Welcome to the Community @CEASAR. We are happy to have you here.

In some states, you are allowed to engage once you see that the felony has been committed. Since each incident is evaluated on a case-by-case judgment, I would suggest speaking with an attorney in your area that is familiar with the current gun laws of your state, to be sure that you are in compliance with the law if you are ever put into a situation where you have to make that decision.


I was taught that if you have time to ask yourself if you would be justified or question yourself if it is justified it is not justified.

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CCW isn’t easy or always straight forward. The choice to carry is a lifelong one which has both benefits and draw backs. The least of which is that should you ever need to protect yourself or others your choice is going to be reviewed many times over. It is best to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible not only about the firearm and how to use it, but the legal and social aspects of your choice to use it.


From Utah State Law.

Effective 5/4/2022
76-2-402. Force in defense of person – Forcible felony defined.

(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Forcible felony” means aggravated assault, mayhem, aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, rape of a child, object rape, object rape of a child, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and aggravated sexual assault as defined in Chapter 5, Offenses Against the Individual, and arson, robbery, and burglary as defined in Chapter 6, Offenses Against Property.

(b) “Forcible felony” includes any other felony offense that involves the use of force or violence against an individual that poses a substantial danger of death or serious bodily injury.

(c) “Forcible felony” does not include burglary of a vehicle, as defined in Section 76-6-204, unless the vehicle is occupied at the time unlawful entry is made or attempted.

(2) (a) An individual is justified in threatening or using force against another individual when and to the extent that the individual reasonably believes that force or a threat of force is necessary to defend the individual or another individual against the imminent use of unlawful force.

(b) An individual is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if the individual reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the individual or another individual as a result of imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.


3 videos depicting defensive shooting, all real. Please, for mature audiences only. Viewer discretion advised. Not for children to see.

In this video, an officer provides CPR to a man after a critical incident. 30 min.:

12-3-20. Retired Chicago Firefighter, he just bought some popcorn for his family who are at home waiting for him. Sadly, he died from his GSW. 1 min.:

  1. California bank robbery shoot-out. What incredible bravery by the officers, and kudos to the dental office staff who administered first aid. 52 min.:
    Zero Hour: North Hollywood Shootout (Remastered) - YouTube

A lot of variables in there, if there was a viable threat to another, say a 20-30yr old threatening a senior where an altercation could easily seriously injury the senior or worse, if no weapon is visible, I’d resort to first a commanding voice to disrupt the attack or conflict…

If said attacker turns on you, you have a threat now after you in a sense…

The situation will dictact your actions, lethal force being a last resort.


Great point. If ever an event, more probable to respond initially with “avoidance, or de-escalation, or non-lethal force.”


@CEASAR >>This issue has come up before. As I remember the law may be different
from state to state ; it’s something like “ duty or obligation to protect “
If you have a legal question you can ask Mr. MikeBKY He is our friend and our Legal Genie ( put a @ in front of the name to rub the magic lantern ) and ask the question. PS: I’ve already had my three questions.

BOOM >> Mikey Will Appear.