Statute clarification

I would like to ask a question, sorry if this has been covered previously, pretty new to CCW (since July), and this confuses me. Florida statute says:

776.012 Use or threatened use of force in defense of person

Even in the class I took the instructor wasn’t 100% clear on this…how you threaten use without being charged with brandishing? (Btw, I got my permit by submitting my DD-214 & took the class after getting it simply to educate my self on the statutes where I live.) Is a verbal warning what is called for? That tells my logical, military brain that will more than likely ESCALTE the situation. You can’t “show”, for fear of charges AND escalation. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking this because I want to be in this situation, I would always heighten my situational awareness and remove myself & my loved ones before anything got to this point. Hope I was clear enough and didn’t ramble on.


@CMBTVT Nothing is black and white when interpreting gun laws. unfortunately for us. The same law can be used differently by each county, state or federal law enforcement and prosecutors, we have seen this in the last months with law abiding gunowners arrested for defending themselves. :angry:

Go to your dashboard and click on Resources and then your state.


Click on the Blue Links on the bottom for a link to the Statute.
The Blue Links in the text will take you to more info on USCCA. :+1:


Florida is a Castle Doctrine state. Under Florida law, there is no duty to retreat if you are attacked in any place you have a lawful right to be. Instead, you may stand your ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others.

Use of Force
A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.

Use of Deadly Force
A person is justified in using deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony or to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground provided that the person is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

The use of deadly force is further justified when a person is resisting any attempt to murder such person or to commit any felony upon him or her or upon or in any dwelling house in which the person is located. If the defendant is in his or her home or vehicle, the law will presume that the defendant had a reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily harm if the alleged victim unlawfully entered or remained or attempted to remove another person against their will. A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter another’s home or vehicle is furthermore presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

[Fla. Stat.§§ 776.012, 776.013 & 782.02]

Florida Quick Links


My guess is, equal force to equal threat. All the way up to presentation of deadly force. Yeah , I will have to agree that verbiage may increase a threat level, hence your increase in force. Cause and effect.
You said you were Navy, so I assume you stood watch and we’re taught deescalation techniques. I’m sure you had your share of belligerent drunks trying to pass your post without an I.D.


I agree Bruce. Fl law allows you carry in your vehicle without a ccw, provided the weapon in properly encased & not readily accessible. So, holstered & in the glove box on the passenger side is allowed. However, if my wife gets in the car with me, an officer can interpret that same weapon as readily accessible, since it’s right there in front of her. Got that right from a deputy in my county. Sometimes the laws are vague enough to cause an issue. Was just hoping for some more insight, but that will be hard to come by these days! Thanks for the reply.


I assume the same Scott. Won’t issue that warning, safer to keep my distance & talk out of it, while ushering my family in the appropriate direction to keep them safe. With all due respect, just for clarity, thanks for noticing the military reference, but I am a Marine, not Navy! :+1:


In that case “Semper Fi”


@Scott52 made it very clear.

equal force to equal threat

works on all 50 States and it is the best way to avoid legal problems (if any force has to be used).


Not all of us can be perfect :rofl: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: :sunglasses: :yum:

Grunt Corpsman here among other things.

I think these two sections address your question fully, I find it interesting that FL uses “or threatens to use” in the statute as most states only ascribe to the act. IMHO the threat of force (presence/attitude/demeanor/or verbally) is specifically authorized in the statute to meet an unlawful threat.




On a positive note, it won’t be you getting arrested. :grin: I guess having it in the glove compartment with your wife as passenger depends on how good your relationship is… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yes, laws are not written to find ways to prosecute people, or so it seems. In reality, those looking to find a reason to prosecute you will find a law and twist it until they can prosecute you. It will be your life, time and money on the line, not theirs.


Here’s the honest answer, there is no “clear” answer.

With that in mind, we all take on certain responsibilities and risks when we carry. While you may be completely justified one day in pulling your firearm and using it to defend yourself, there’s nothing that says you couldn’t also face charges and/or jail time for doing so because you were found guilty of some crime.

The bottom line is this, welcome to a group of people who are willing to take every means necessary and do whatever we feel we can to have every tool we might need to protect ourselves and those we love…but don’t think for one second that every action, comment, or circumstance couldn’t be used against you if someone wants to. Be ever vigilant and know that we will always try and advise the most accurate information but at the end of the day…it’s really best to seek out locally the best legal advice you can in your specific area as they know far better how the tides seem to fall in this area.

Hope my obscure answer doesn’t frustrate you.


While I am not an attorney, and I am only answering to see the responses for my own beliefs on the subject. My understanding of this situation leads me to believe this course of action would be to only attempt this if you were under the threat of deadly force or great bodily harm or a situation that was going to escalate to that point. Meaning that you would need to make sure that you would be forced to defend yourself if you did nothing and it was unavoidable. Obviously this tactic could not be used in an ambush type of attack, where an immediate defense was needed.

I don’t know about Florida law but Michigan law states that force other than deadly force can be used if you reasonably believe that the use of that force is necessary to defend yourself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual. An example of this was the Siwatu-Salama Ra case. She was first convicted and later exonerated for doing this very thing.

She used her unloaded firearm to stop a woman from running down her family in her yard. The initial court did not instruct the jury that you could use force other than deadly to force to prevent an escalation of an attack. Unfortunately, she did later plead to brandishing a firearm after 2 years of court battles and a short stay in prison. It is a risk that is only worth taking to prevent the alternative of having to take a life.

Don’t get me wrong I am not saying you have to wait until you are about to die to attempt this tactic. I am saying you need to be able to explain how this situation was going to get to that point if you did not act. It is a grey area either way and something you would need a lawyer to explain for you to the prosector and possibly jury. It is likely you would initially be charged and later have to be exonerated, an arrest would likely be imminent.

There is another option for you though, that is to carry a less lethal option that is accepted in your state. Keeping in mind that even pepper spray can be seen as a dangerous instrument (STATE of Connecticut v.Paul OVECHKA.).

If you would like more details on Mrs. Ra’s case you can read this article Where it covers both sides of the event.

I would be curious to know of other cases where brandishing was not charged that didn’t involve an imminent threat. Or cases where brandishing was legally justified or won in court.

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