Specific Do’s/Don’ts In Large Public Places

In light of the rising number of random mass shootings in places where innocent people gather any day of the week, like grocery stores, public festivals, restaurants, places of worship, etc. my specific area of concern today is this question: Being a law-abiding, licensed armed citizen, if I do have an open escape route from a deadly situation, but I choose to take lethal action to stop the aggressor, to try and protect others in harm’s way, even though I am not directly, immediately being threatened, am I legally within my rights to do so?

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There is no universal answer to your question, no one size fits all. Maybe refer to the manual they gave you in your class. Or check online with the state you live in or call them, I’m sure they will give you a comprehensive answer to your understanding.

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Hi @Tim9991 welcome to the community.

Here in CA there’s no hard and fast rule it’s up to the individual. We can defend others. My personal opinion is that I’ll be a good witness and get to safety if I can; however, until I find myself in that situation I don’t know how I’ll react.

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Most self defense laws have provisions for helping others. It’s really going to depend on where you are at the time.

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That answer is made state-by-state, situation-by-situation. Some states don’t allow for you to come to the help of others in public, many do… you have to know your state laws, and maybe local laws if your state doesn’t have preemption. And you’re going to be responsible for where every one of your bullets go, as you are any time you shoot. And you may have to make a really convincing case as to why you chose what you chose. Its complicated, but it starts with knowing your state’s laws.

What state do you live in?

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The number isn’t really rising, they are just getting far more publicity.

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To address your specific question. Whether you have a duty to retreat depends on the state you are in.

Even in a duty to retreat state though if you were to step up and put an active shooter down I’d say your odds of being prosecuted are probably somewhere between slim and none unless you went running say from one end of the mall to another to confront the shooter.

Even then I would seriously doubt any prosecutor would try it.

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I’m unaware of any state that doesn’t allow for third party interventions, have you got some examples?

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Texas. And you’re absolutely right. I do need to read my state’s penal codes regarding the use of deadly force in self defense and in defense of others. I am generally aware of these laws, but need to sharpen up for sure.

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It’s a really good idea to at least brush up on them every other year following the latest legislative session.

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Good active shooter advice on this FB post

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It came up in another post on here recently @wildrose, let me see if I can find it.
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Ok. Can’t find it, but this is part of what raises the question for me… in states with a duty to retreat in public, if you move into a situation to defend another party when you, personally, could have retreated… that’s the area I’d want to be very sure of the law on.

States that have adopted stand-your-ground, but limit it to only when a person is within their vehicle, are North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
The states that have castle doctrine only with the duty to retreat in public are Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. This means that people can use deadly force in their home, car, or other form of abode but have to retreat in public.
Vermont and Washington, D.C. require citizens to flee from criminal assailants, even within their own homes.

There is also this:

Typically a defendant may use defense of others as a defense in a situation where he used force under the reasonable belief that it was necessary to defend another person. However, there is some disagreement as to whether or not the defendant must have had a relationship with the person he was protecting in order to be able to invoke defense of another. Some jurisdictions require that the defendant have a special relationship, like a parent-child or husband-wife relationship, to the person he is protecting in order to be able to raise defense of another. However, most jurisdictions do not require that the defendant have a relationship with the person he is defending. Thus, in most jurisdictions, the defendant may use reasonable force in defense of any third person. See Foster v. Commonwealth 412 S.E.2d 198 (Va. 1991).

https://lawshelf.com/courseware/entry/defense-of-others

I think general one can defend others if one could defend themselves in the same situation, however "general " can get you jail time if you are wrong about the local law.

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Here are some places to start

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