I was at the Georgia Gun Club (Buford, GA) yesterday practicing my marksmanship and had a discussion with one of the senior employees about practicing between 15 - 20 yards instead of just 7 - 10 yards. I stated that you may have to defend yourself at longer than just 7 yards. Especially for someone like myself who has two bad knees and is 70 years old. She made a statement that alarmed me. She stated that during a training session a year ago at the Club the “U.S. LawShield” instructor stated that in Georgia if you are threatened with bodily harm, etc by a “bad guy” who is 10+ yards away you WILL be prosecuted if you use potentially deadly force instead of “retreating” or running away. I and another customer who was listening to our conversation thought that she must be wrong. She suggested that I send a message to USCCA, since I am a member, and see if anyone can clear up my concern. So any help with this question would be appreciated.
First, understand you are dealing with hearsay, a statement from memory by a non-expert person (the employee) based on instruction over a year earlier. There is a good chance that the employee has did not accurately understand the instructor’s statemnt, or has now recalled it inaccurately.
Next, if the statement is an accurate description of the instructors original statement, you can bet big money that instructor is not an attorney. No attorney would vary so widely from the traditional “it depends” advice to insist that you would definitely be charged according to such brightline rules as a specific distance and a firm duty to retreat. In every state, a duty to retreat includes the provision that the retreat must be available safely. Clearly a 70 year old with bad kjnees is not going to be able to retreat safely from an able bodied attacker only 10 yards away.
[Recall that the Tueller drills have repeatedly shown that average people can cover 7 yards in well under two seconds.]
With the above observations, I’d suggest getting accurate information on Georgia’s duty to retreat laws from an attorney knowledgable in Georgia statute and case law.
Oh, and if the reported instructor really did say that, stay away form further training from that organization; the instructor WAY overstepped his level of competence
Personally, based on the link below, I would not trust what she said at that moment. Sometimes, a person could mean well, but the info they have could have been in error, or misinterpreted. Kinda like when a story is told, by the time story is told by the third or fourth person, the story has since changed, not by ill intent, but by the way the human mind naturally works.
Laws differ by state. It’s not that simple. Keep training in a variety of different scenarios, and check your local listings.
Please don’t bother trying to approach her, let that go, it’s not worth it, only problems would occur. Like the fellah who walks away from you each time he sees you, cause he still owes you $20. Let him be, as it only costed you $20 to learn he’s not a friend, thus you win.
Good post. This problem shows up very often during classes.
As other stated - first, know your local Laws. Second, do not count on numbers.
Magical “21 feet” is just a distance used as reference. Nobody is going to measure exact distance you shoot at. For young athlete 21’ can be a shortest safe distance, but for 70 years old person with knee problem even 50’ can be a deadly distance.
The other thing that has to be taken under consideration is what kind of threat we are dealing with. If I see somebody walking towards me with a firearm, there is no “safe distance”. If the same person is walking towards me with knife… perhaps 25’ is the distance I would use deadly force after verbal commands / warnings.
There are always few factors that take part in self defense situation and decision making.
The best example would be BJ Baldwin who defended himself and his girlfriend in April 2020 in Las Vegas.
He shot 10 times from distance between 45’ and 65’. That was pure self defense.
Thank you @Craig_AR for excellent answer. I heard a similar statement at one point, with the difference that 20 yards distance was mentioned. I’d like to remind of Elisjah Dicken who stopped a would be mass murderer in IN from 40-50 yards away. He wasnt charged (except in the court of CNN). So, totality of circumstances matters.
Training for longer than 10 yards makes a lot of sense. First, you will perform better at distances less than 10 yards. 2nd, see above.
As others have stated, it depends. If you have someone shooting at you from over 100 yards away and nowhere to retreat to then are you supposed to just stand there and get shot? This actually happened to a coworker of mine by the way though he was unarmed and had no choice but to get in his truck and drive closer to the shooters in order to get away.
I mostly practice at 10 yards with my pistols but regularly mix in 20, 30, 50 and even the rare 100 yard session. Makes the shorter ranges seem easy.
Thank you for the “Welcome”. It was the Elisjah Dickens’ incident in IN that encouraged me to start practicing between 15-25 yards. That situation could happen to any one of us. He could have run away but thankfully he didn’t. Does anyone know if he was using an optic as the distance was reported as “40 yards”?
I don’t think 21 feet is safe for anyone. Except maybe an Olympic sprinter who turns and runs the instant someone starts charging them from 21 feet away. Assuming the charger doesn’t have a firearm.
In the first defensive class I took the instructor had a charging target (pulled by someone standing behind you running with a rope) that I’m pretty sure started at 21 feet away. By the end of the class I could draw and get one to two shots in the target before it hit the stopper about a foot from the end of my barrel. But if it was a real person their momentum would have easily carried them into me where they could have done a lot of damage before they realized they were shot.