Legal use of force by private citizens in the US

The legal situation in the US re violence and protection of self and property.

[1.] In all states, you can use deadly force to defend yourself against death, serious bodily injury (which can include broken bones and perhaps even lost teeth), rape, or kidnapping, so long as (a) your fear is reasonable and (b) the danger is imminent.

[2.]  In basically all states, you can use nondeadly force to defend your property—and if the thief or vandal responds by threatening you with death or great bodily harm, you can then protect yourself with deadly force

And in some states, you don’t even need to expose yourself to such increased risk, if you reasonably fear at the outset that nondeadly protection of property would be too dangerous. In those states, to quote the Model Penal Code formulation (which some have adopted), deadly force can be used [under various circumstances].

There was a long delay before this came  up as a post so it is in the open thread in case it did not appear here.

This entry was posted in American politics, property rights, Rafe, Rule of law. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Legal use of force by private citizens in the US

  1. Bruce

    The “Warren Doctrine” applies, apparently.

    At least most Americans have options.

    Here in this benighted penal colony, the “peasants” are expected to be terrorized, robbed, maimed or to die on cue; our lives destroyed to provide a veneer of “pathos” to the sociopathic ramblings and theatrical hand-wringing of the LSM, public serpents and our “elected representatives”.

  2. Bruce in WA

    In Australia, a citizen cannot, by legislation, possess a firearm for the purposes of self-defence; it is specifically excluded.

    As was explained here in WA by a police prosecutor: “If someone breaks into your home and is armed, and you have time to retrieve your firearm, assemble it, retrieve the ammunition from its separate locked safe, load the firearm and present it, then you obviously weren’t in imminent danger and will be charged”.

  3. stackja

    When was the last time one of the “elite” faced danger?

  4. Tim Neilson

    Bruce in WA
    #3475282, posted on June 5, 2020 at 10:39 am

    “Your Honour, I just couldn’t sleep. So after a while I thought I might as well do something useful. So I thought I’d clean my firearm. I cleaned the components, then assembled it to check that it was all ok. Then, just as I put a couple of rounds in to check that the magazine was all in order, I heard a strange noise…”.

  5. Destroyer D69

    Forget the guns… A selection of strategically disbursed golf clubs, used normally as security bars for windows and doors, can turn the tide of the dispute should one arise… The also serve very well as a walking stick……

  6. cohenite

    Read the NSW Crimes Act 1900, Ss 418-423

    https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1900/40/part11/div3/sec423

    You can kill a person defending yourself or some one else; and this right is not restricted to the home. The onus of proof is reversed which means the wallopers must prove what you did was not reasonable. It’s as good as anything in the US, EXCEPT, you can’t use a gun.

  7. rickw

    The answer to these Questions in Australia is practically:

    No, no and no.

    If you use arms in self defence, even if it is not fired. You will be charged by every and all means available to police.

    Albury police station should have been burned to the ground after they charged with unlawful use and confiscated all the firearms of a father who confronted a convicted pedo who was attempting to gain entry into his children’s bedroom. The firearm wasn’t discharged either. For good measure they also confiscated the firearms his wife owned.

    Policing in Australia is a criminal enterprise.

  8. Mater

    As was explained here in WA by a police prosecutor: “If someone breaks into your home and is armed, and you have time to retrieve your firearm, assemble it, retrieve the ammunition from its separate locked safe, load the firearm and present it, then you obviously weren’t in imminent danger and will be charged”.

    I could put him onto a couple who can provide empirical evidence as to how long it takes them to chop through your front door with a machete, in the middle of the night.
    I reckon I could do all of the above, with time to spare, and I’m not convinced that the imminent danger would reduce during said process.

  9. Neenee

    “Your Honour, I just couldn’t sleep. So after a while I thought I might as well do something useful. So I thought I’d clean my firearm. I cleaned the components, then assembled it to check that it was all ok. Then, just as I put a couple of rounds in to check that the magazine was all in order, I heard a strange noise…”.

    Then, if you put a couple into the intruder, I hope you remembered to put a couple of warning shots into the ceiling.

  10. Botswana O'Hooligan

    Bunnings have an excellent wasp spray called “Blitzem” and it has a still air range of twelve feet so if you have, or are likely to have, a wasp infestation, then “Blitzem” is for you.

  11. Up The Workers!

    Leftard cops and robbers…perpetually peeing into the same pot!

  12. yarpos

    Defend yourself or your property in Australia its likely you will be the one getting charged.

  13. Googoomuck

    “Bunnings have an excellent wasp spray called “Blitzem” and it has a still air range of twelve feet so if you have, or are likely to have, a wasp infestation, then “Blitzem” is for you.”

    Well that’s OK if the intruders are WASPs!

  14. Joanna Smythe

    In Australia if you are a leftie and you defend and maim an intruder, you will be exonerated. If you are not a leftie and the person you maim is perceived by the left to be one of them, then riots will follow, the media and ABC will destroy your credibility and you will face years in jail.

  15. 2dogs

    Especially given the present calls to “defund the police”, you left out:

    You make a citizens arrest of someone you observe committing a crime.

    This was how the system worked before police forces were established in the 19th century, and this principle survives. Is this what those who are saying “defund the police” want? Because it is what they are asking for.

  16. Chris

    Defend yourself or your property in Australia its likely you will be the one getting charged.

    There are important distinctions. Not ‘Are you a lefty’ but ‘are you a sympathetic media figure like a 90yo defending his wife’. This was the last media-publicised self defense case in WA where someone was not charged.
    HOWEVER was the person ‘lying in wait’ armed because they were expecting thieving little bastards to break in to their business, and the person shot them in the arse as they bolted?
    1) Arse shots are not properly self defense in fear of life.
    2) ‘Lying in wait’ is itself a separate offense.

    We often back people emotionally, but the facts of the case are not entirely one way.

  17. Neil

    In Australia, a citizen cannot, by legislation, possess a firearm for the purposes of self-defence; it is specifically excluded.

    How long has that law been around? Apparently you cannot carry a knife for self-defense as well

  18. James of Tas

    The right to self defense is the right to life. To exist the right must be exercisable. To exercise the right a means must be available. We don’t have the right here in Australia and it’s our own fault for letting it be this way.
    We’re not all in it together.

  19. Docket62

    Then, if you put a couple into the intruder, I hope you remembered to put a couple of warning shots into the ceiling.

    Nope. No requirement for warning shots.

    If you use arms in self defence, even if it is not fired. You will be charged by every and all means available to police.

    Yeah, whatever. Defending yourself with the 357 revolver (all 6 shots) is perfectly acceptable if your life os considered to be in danger. All you can be charged with is pissy firearms offenses (Discharge etc)

    Manslaughter? Unlikely… and certainly not murder as no premeditation.

    I’ll take the chance

  20. Docket62

    This was how the system worked before police forces were established in the 19th century

    Still exits in most states 2dogs. In Vic its 458 of the Crimes Act

  21. MatrixTransform

    so the intruder fell down the stairs … whadya want me to do?

    I would never ever call the cops

    even if a half dead guy showed up at my joint outta the blue for no reason

    I’m so deaf these days I may not even hear his whimpering

  22. Neenee

    Nope. No requirement for warning shots.

    I thought the implication was obvious: Shoot them first, then fire the warning shots. Reverse the sequence in your statement of facts.

  23. theleftfootkick

    There was a case in Queensland around the 1990s’ where an elderly pension shot dead a burglar in home around Brisbane somewhere, he was charged with murder or manslaughter either one, the jury threw it out and the Queensland Law Council civil libertarians etc when ape shit complaining that they cannot have juries dismissing cases like that. What it did show was how of touch is the legal profession to ordinary citizen in struggle street, nothing has changed!

  24. theleftfootkick

    That is the old ‘finds committing’ section sanctioning arrest powers, and thereby if an offender resists arrest necessary force can be used to effect the arrest. I know from personal experience in a court case involving myself in the very same circumstances, the person I arrested resisted I used the necessary force to make the arrest, he lost the case and got convicted. This was around the early 1980s’ I won’t tell what I did to him, he ended up in hospital enough said.

  25. Docket62

    I thought the implication was obvious: Shoot them first, then fire the warning shots. Reverse the sequence in your statement of facts.

    Why waste perfectly good bullets? If you ARE going to shoot someone, you want to be damned certain they aren’t around to testify against you. I think the saying was ‘dead men tell no tales’

    Back in the 80’s we were taught to keep firing until the threat stopped. IMHO that’s an empty Mag or cyclinder.

  26. theleftfootkick

    Always call out in a loud screaming voice ‘don’t shoot don’t shoot’ first! Reminds of the the detective in Carlton years ago who emptied his S&W into a criminal then took his partner revolver and empties that one into as well, that was after the Walsh Street shooting saga.

  27. Boambee John

    theleftfootkick

    the Queensland Law Council civil libertarians etc when ape shit complaining that they cannot have juries dismissing cases like that. What it did show was how of touch is the legal profession to ordinary citizen in struggle street, nothing has changed!

    Speaking of which, has anyone heard a single squeak out of our multitudinous Sybil Liberties spokes creatures about the gross breaches of civil liberties by our many layers of government over the last three months?

  28. theleftfootkick

    ah yes of course, and tonight news of an aboriginal man murdered in Alice Springs, of course the ABC is no names no pack drill here, after all black lives matter.

  29. Docket62

    who emptied his S&W into a criminal then took his partner revolver and empties that one into as well

    Ahh yes, I remember it well. The coroners report also mentioned it was the 7th shot that was fatal. You can see why a 10 shot semi auto has clear tactical advantage in these situations.

  30. Tel

    Shoot them first, then fire the warning shots.

    I think it’s traditional for everyone to shout, “Stop Resisting!” at the top of their lungs.

    Any more than that is above my pay grade.

  31. Hasbeen

    A sargent of police in a small country town once told me, that if I decided to defend my home & family with a gun I should make sure I shot the intruder between the eyes.

    When asked why, the answer was, then the intruder & some lawyer could not concoct a story that the intruder was only asking for help, or some such rubbish.

  32. theleftfootkick

    Mighty heavy all filled with lead!

  33. theleftfootkick

    Something to do with ‘lots of wood’

  34. Professor Fred Lenin

    Under the new Criminal Protection Act it is an offence to resist or assault any personwho breal]ks into your home or motor vehicle , punishable by a minimum 10 years imprisonment . Criminals must be allowed to go about their business without let or hinderence . Social Justice must be upheld .

  35. MatrixTransform

    Criminals must be allowed to go about their business without let or hinderence

    I bet OH&S is problem … those stairs really should be anti-slip

  36. Howard Hill

    There was a case in Queensland around the 1990s’ where an elderly pension shot dead a burglar in home around Brisbane somewhere, he was charged with murder or manslaughter either one, the jury threw it out

    It’s an old saying and I’m surprised it hasn’t been mentioned.

    “It is better to be judged by twelve than to be carried by six.”

    I find it incredibly disgustingly offensive that men would outlaw an instinct given to you by the great almighty when your are created; the act of preserving ones gift of life. Without it you would not reach old age.

    Only those of weak mind follow stupid laws made by stupid men!

    I’m with, Docket62. I’ll take my chances and if it ever happened, the corpse will not be found, as instructed to me by several members of the establishment!

    Hasbeen. Dead men tell no lies!

  37. Tel

    It’s an old saying and I’m surprised it hasn’t been mentioned.

    “It is better to be judged by twelve than to be carried by six.”

    I was going to say it’s better to be judged by an angry mob of black-hooded nutbar sociopaths than carried by six … but your way also works!

  38. bobby b

    (Here in the US) I’m going to be giving another little demo tonight for some interested friends in how to build an AR-15. Takes about $300-$400 in parts from the internet, and maybe 2 hours of your time.

    And suddenly it’s my lefty friends who are inquiring about it. Everybody wants a gun now, and feels a visceral lack when they realize they don’t have one and the mob’s right down the block.

    So I read today that my local city council – Minneapolis – is discussing defunding the police, and I wonder if I ought to be going into this as a paying business instead of just a fun hobby. I suspect demand is about to rise.

  39. Eyrie

    “and if it ever happened, the corpse will not be found”
    Or “shoot, shovel and shut up.”

  40. Bruce in WA

    Neil
    #3475645, posted on June 5, 2020 at 6:54 pm
    In Australia, a citizen cannot, by legislation, possess a firearm for the purposes of self-defence; it is specifically excluded.

    How long has that law been around? Apparently you cannot carry a knife for self-defense as well

    Neil

    I actually left out “Western” in front of Australia; I am unaware if this is Australia-wide. We cannot carry a knife here for any reason other than occupational purposes.

  41. Lee

    I knew and shopped at this guy’s store about forty years ago, in metropolitan Melbourne (no, not a gun shop!).
    He was in the news about twenty years or so ago, because late one night (he lived on the premises) a few guys (who turned out to be in their mid- to late-teens) broke into his shop.
    The owner shot and killed one of the teens with his rifle.
    Despite the bleating from the deceased’s family and the usual suspects, the owner was eventually cleared.
    I doubt if the owner would be anywhere near so fortunate with the consequences now.

  42. Neil

    I actually left out “Western” in front of Australia; I am unaware if this is Australia-wide

    I suspect it is Australia wide. I would still like to know when it became against the law to posses a gun for self defense. I suspect that law has been around for a long time. But it was news to me that we did not get a standing army until 1947. Before then Australia was defended by the militia. I guess those guys had the right to have a gun at home

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