News/Q&A Show: Sept. 17, 2020

Welcome to this episode of our ONLY open-access content, our weekly News/Q&A Show. You’ll find video and a transcript of today’s show below.

Be sure to mark your calendar to never miss a News/Q&A Show–they air LIVE every Thursday, at 4pM ET of the Law of Self Defense Members Dashboard, our Facebook page, and our Youtube channel, and playback recordings are available on each of those platforms.

CCW Safe:  Our Sponsor

Now before we jump into the substance of today’s show, I do, of course, need to mention today’s sponsor, CCW Safe, a provider of legal service memberships, what many people mistakenly call self-defense insurance. They in effect promise to pay their member’s legal expenses if their member is involved in a use of force event.

And those expenses start big and get bigger, fast, folks. For example, aggravated assault, where you were threatened, you displayed your gun, you didn’t fire a shot didn’t hurt anybody. You’re looking at a retainer to your lead counsel in the order of $30,000 to $50,000. And that’s for pre-trial work, folks, that’s not for going to trial. If it’s a murder, case, manslaughter or murder, you’re easily looking at $100,000 or $200,000 pre-trial expense, and just multiply that for the trial.

So, if you don’t have that kind of money stuffed in your mattress, it can be useful to have a financial partner standing behind you to make sure you have the resources you need to fight the legal battle, the way you want it fought—as if your life depended on it. Because, really, it does.  And that’s what CCW Safe offers to do.

There are several companies out there that offer similar services. I’ve looked at all of them, as you might imagine, and I found that CCW Safe is the best fit for me personally.  I’m personally a member of CCW Safe, my wife Emily is personally a member of CCW Safe.

Whether they’re the best fit for you is something only you can decide. But I do encourage you to take a look at what they have to offer by clicking the image or link below:

And if you do decide to become a member of CCW Safe, you can save 10% off your membership at that URL, using the discount code LOSD10.

In today’s News/Q&A Show for September 17, 2020 we touched on a broad range of questions submitted for the show, as well as questions submitted live, including:

  • Use of Gun Against an Animal Attack
  • Brandishing of Firearm to Deter Less-Than-Deadly Attack
  • Sharing Law of Self Defense Links on Other Sites
  • Increased Risk of Losing Physical Fight if Use Only Non-Deadly Force
  • Barehanded Deadly Force Threat to Elderly, Blood Thinners, etc.
  • Effect of Unlawful Carry of Gun on Self-Defense
  • How to Prove/Disprove Self-Defense if No Eye-Witnesses?
  • Brandishing Gun In Your Home Against Protestors
  • Breonna Taylor $12MM Settlement
  • Fists as Non-Deadly v. Deadly Weapons
  • Legal Definition of Disparity of Force
  • Intoxicated Gun Possession/Hunting While Intoxicated

Enjoy the show!

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Welcome, everybody. Welcome to the Law of Self Defense News/Q&A Show for September 17 2020. Let’s see. Come on in. Come on in and make yourselves comfortable.

If you’re watching this live on one of the social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, please leave a comment with your city and state so I can get some geographic sense of who’s here.

If you are a Law of Self Defense Member, as always, we do encourage you to enjoy the live show on your member dashboard. It is playing live. There, question submitted on the member dashboard will have, of course, priority.

And if we have time available after that, and we try to keep these shows under an hour, then we’ll take a look at Facebook and YouTube for additional questions that may have come in.

So, for those who may be new to the Law of Self Defense, this is the one show we do every week that is open-access. It’s not limited to Law of Self Defense Members. So you don’t need to be a paying member of Law of Self Defense to enjoy today’s show. It is the least structured of our shows of the week, the one live show. The other shows of the week are much more structured, detailed focused on particular use of force events and legal analysis.

But in today’s show, we’d like to give you a little exposure in general public to what we do at Law of Self Defense, which is of course cover use of force events, in the news, do legal analysis and of course, our normal legal practice of representation consultation to clients.

All we do is use a force law we’re not a generalized criminal defense practice. We do self defense, defense of others, defense of property, period. Those are the only cases that we cover.

And in this Thursday show which, by the way, we do it every Thursday 4pm Eastern time. So if you enjoyed the show, I encourage you to mark your calendar, so you don’t miss the next one. We broadcast the show live every Thursday 4pm Eastern time. After that, you can access the show as a playback recording on Facebook, our YouTube channel, which is just slash law of self defense, or of course on our member dashboard as a blog post on the law self defense blog. And again, this is the one share the week that’s open access to everybody.

CCW Safe:  Our Sponsor

Before we dive into the details of today’s case, I do feel obliged to mention the sponsor of today’s show, which is CCW, safer provider of legal service memberships, what many people mistakenly call self defense insurance. In fact, CCW safe promises to pay it’s legal, its members legal expenses, if they’re involved in the use of force event and those expensive start bidding get bigger fast, folks. Most of the cases I consult on are aggravated assault cases with a firearm, we typically get those charges dismissed before trial, which is a tremendous win naturally for those clients. those cases dismissed before trial still cost those clients anywhere between 30 to 50 $60,000. It’s quite a lot of money, folks, that’s a pretty nice car $60,000. And if they go to trial, those expenses can easily be 100 hundred and $50,000 before trial, just multiply that for the trial itself. So it can be helpful to have a partner standing behind you with the financial resources to fight that legal battle the way you want it fought, which is realistically as if your life depended on it, because life as you know, it depends on it. So I’ve looked at all the legal service membership programs, self defense insurance programs out there, I found CCW safe to be the best fit for me for my wife, Emily, she’s also a member of CCW safe, whether or not they’re the best fit for you is something only you can decide, but I do encourage you to take a look at what they have to offer. At And if you do decide to become a member, they are the best fit for you. You can save 10% off your membership with them by using the discount code LOSD10. That’s LOSD for law of self defense, the number 10 at checkout at that URL They do good work over there.

And if you do decide to become a member of CCW Safe, you can save 10% off your membership at that URL, using the discount code LOSD10.

Okay, let’s put back our show slide. What else do I have to talk about?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, this is the only show of the week that we do that is not members only not restricted to Law of Self Defense Members. So hopefully many of you watching the show are new to the Law of Self Defense community just getting exposed for the first time. So every week on these News/Q&A shows I do like to give a little exposure to what we’ve provided to members so far this week.

One of the shows we did on this is on Monday, we put out a show on self defense with night vision involving a case out of Kansas that explored a variety of legal issues. It’s actually very interesting. Kansas Supreme Court case, does a great job of stepping through the fundamental legal principles of self defense and how you qualify to argue self defense to trial. You don’t have an automatic right to argue self defense at trial folks. And although it is a Kansas case, the legal principles covered are applicable in all 50 states. So there’s a lot to learn from this case, regardless of what state you’re in. So pretty long show it’s really a mini course in self defense law all by itself. accessible at law, self defense comm slash blog, but only to our members.

Then on Tuesday, we did a case looking at the Brianna Taylor settlement. This is a $12 million settlement. For the city of Louisville over the death of Breanna Taylor and I provide some kind of inside baseball lawyers perspective understanding of what’s going on in this case and whether or not this $12 million payoff is really justice. Or if it’s just another political jackpot, multi million dollar jackpot for attorney Benjamin Crump featured on the left of that image there. And we step through that process as well.

And we have another show. We haven’t actually aired yet. It’s going through post production that is scheduled for tomorrow. And this is looking at the James Spurlock case. This is where James Spurlock attacked the bar owner outside of his bar, the bar owner ended up shooting him. Initial review of the case by the local prosecutor resulted in no charges being filed against the bar owner in what’s the Very clearly to be a justified use of force and self defense. But naturally, the mob when crazy political pressure was escalated, the state appointed a special prosecutor. And yesterday, the special prosecutor announced four felony charges against the bar owner, which if convicted, the bar owner will do 95 years in prison. And we exploit the legitimacy or lack thereof, of this kind of prosecution. I’ll argue in this show–the one for September 18–that this is just another example of what we’ve repeatedly seen recently, of effectively mob justice, the mob shopping around until they get a prosecutor who’s willing to punish these defenders, if only through the process, and not through an actual conviction in these apparently very clear cases of lawful self defense.

Two-Week Law of Self Defense Trial Membership: Just 99 cents!

Now, all of those are shows that are available only to Law of Self Defense Members. If you’re not a member, you won’t be able to access those. But the good news is membership is pretty much dirt cheap folks, you can get two weeks a membership. Try it out for 99 cents, you get the same access as any other member to our membership content, including all the shows I just showed you, as well as weeks and months of prior shows that we’ve done a variety of topics, all for just 99 cents for two weeks. If within those two weeks you decide you don’t like it cancel, we’ll give you 200% of your money back. It’s a negative risk opportunity, folks. If you do stay a member, it’s still dirt cheap. It’s only about 33 cents a day, it’s less than $10 a month to be a member of Law of Self Defense .

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Alright, folks, so today’s show is going to be light on news and big on questions because we had a ton of questions coming in. Now just, we had so many questions come in from our Platinum members, which is something else I should mention.

Platinum Protection Program

We have two levels of memberships: standard level, which is what I just showed you a moment before, which is our less than $10 a month level membership. And we also have our Platinum Protection Program, which includes Platinum level membership.

Platinum level membership gives you everything standard membership gives you plus more. One of the things it gives you is a Platinum level Q&A Forum where you can submit self-defense law questions to me personally, I personally will answer them. If you’d like a private response, I’ll answer them privately.

Otherwise, they get pushed to the top of the list for questions to be answered in our weekly news and q&a show. And we had a ton of Platinum members have excellent, excellent questions this week. So those are probably all the questions we’ll get to as our Platinum level questions. I

The other thing that Platinum Protection Program membership includes is my guaranteed availability to be on your legal team should you be involved in the use of force event. And folks, we’re rapidly getting to the point, I’m just one lawyer, we’re rapidly getting to the point with really the only cases, I can take the time to consult on are cases of our Platinum Protection Program members. So if you’re not a platinum Protection Program member, the prospects of me being able to consult on your case approaches zero.

So something to keep in mind if my availability is something that would be important to you. I’d suggest it would be prudent to have it be important to you, but obviously, that’s a decision only you can make.

You can learn more about our Platinum Protection Program membership at

So if any of that sounds of interest, I encourage you to learn more by clicking the image or link below:

So we got a ton of questions this week from our Platinum Protection Program members. Those are probably all the questions we’ll be able to get to. But if I do get through those before the end of the hour, I will take a look through the membership chat, the Facebook chat the YouTube chat for additional questions. So let’s dive into those first one of them.

Just came in a few minutes ago actually from Scott, a Platinum member of Law of Self Defense. And he links a new story about a police officer who was indicted for killing a woman. The woman was struck by around fired when the officer was trying to shoot a dog.

Now I know lots of police get bad press over shooting dogs, some of that bad press is well deserved. For our purposes, however, for purposes of this show this this discussion, let’s assume for purposes of this discussion, that the shooting of the dog would have been legally justified so we don’t get those emotional issues clouding the legal analysis here. So the officer fired a shot at the dog. The round ended up hitting a woman killing a woman and the officers now been indicted, been indicted for criminally negligent homicide.

Use of Gun Against an Animal Attack

So the first question from Scott is well, what the heck is criminally negligent homicide and of course any kind of act of negligence per say is, we all have a legal duty not to cause unjustified harm to others. If you violate that duty, you’ve acted negligently. If your violation that duty causes damage to someone, you’ve negligently incurred the liability for compensating them for their damage. So, basic negligence applies in the civil court context. So if someone negligently causes you harm, you sue them in civil court, you’re awarded compensation, usually in the form of money for the damages they’ve caused. Reckless conduct is more than negligence and by reckless, that would also include include what’s commonly called criminally negligent, so it’s a step above merely negligent and it involves when you’ve created a risk of harm to others, and you were just not negligent about that risk. You affirmatively disregarded that risk, and you cause typically would be some injury to another The person in this case a death to another person.

So in this case, what the law saying what the indictment is saying is this officer created an unjustifiable risk to the life of others in particular the life of the victim of his round. He affirmatively ignored that risk without legal justification, the harm actually resulted in death. So that just that constitutes criminally negligent homicide, wasn’t just negligent, but knew the risk he was creating and ignored that risk and the risk actually resulted in the death of the woman. So that’s a step above civil negligence is criminal negligence or what would sometimes be called recklessness, and that’s what pushes it from the civil arena into the criminal arena. So the compensation here, the consequences are not just potentially having to pay money, but going to prison for a very long time. And what’s the legality and using deadly force in this case, a handgun in defending yourself from an animal attack.

Now we do need to differentiate between defending yourself from the attack of an animal on the one hand, and defending an animal defending your pets. If you’re defending your pet from some harm whether it comes from a human or another animal, pets our personal property the least defensible form of property I know that can be shocking to you who love your pets, just like there are members of the family. But pets are merely personal property only non deadly force can be used in defense of personal property meaning only non deadly force can be used in defense of your pet, not a deadly force against a human or against some other animal.

If we’re talking about defense of ourselves from an animal attack, however, we still need to differentiate that from self defense. So self defense properly understood is the use of force against another person. And before they use the force against another person can be lawful, it has to be justified on some basis. And a common justification is self defense that other person was about to cause harm to us. Or some other innocent person. But self defense really governs your use of force against another person. It’s not the law that typically applies.

When you’re using force against an animal, a non human different law would apply there. So obviously, in the colloquial sense, we say, Well, I was defending myself against the human attacker, I was defending myself against a bear, whatever, against the dog. So I’m defending myself, it feels like self defense. But from a technical legal perspective, self defense applies to the use of force against a human in defending yourself.

If you’re defending yourself against an animal, it’s not typically self defense law that would apply because you’re not using force against a human. It would typically be something like a doctrine of necessity or the doctrine of lesser evils.

And that doctrine applies in the following way. Normally, it would apply where your conduct would, under normal circumstances be unlawful on its face, so you’re doing something that would normally not be lawful might be permitted. So you’re doing that thing causes an unlawful harm. You can be excused of criminal liability for causing that unlawful harm under the doctrine of necessity or the doctrine of lesser harms or lesser evils. If you committed that normally unlawful harm in order to avoid some greater harm.

So a classic example might be if you’re walking down the street, and you see a baby locked in a car and a hot day, and the baby looks like it’s about to expire in the enclosed vehicle. You can’t just open a door because the car is locked. There’s no one around the owner the vehicles not around, there’s no place to call for help. So you break the window of the car in order to get the baby out of the car to save the baby’s life.

Now is breaking the window the car, normally unlawful, of course, it’s property damage, you’re not just allowed to walk around, break people’s car windows, but you would argue under the doctrine of necessity that sure my conduct caused what’s normally an unlawful harm. But I committed that small harm in order to To avoid a much greater harm, so is that it’s a balancing there.

Again, this would not apply if you’re using force against people then self defense would apply, but it applies if you’re using force other than against people, and that includes using force against another animal.

So if you’re being attacked by a dog, use force against the dog your justification, there would not be self defense, it would be the doctrine of necessity. Yes, normally shooting a dog is unlawful, but I shot the dog to avoid greater harm, which is my maiming or death or whatever at the hands of this dog or bear or whatever the case might be.

Unfortunately, a lot of people get into trouble when they get into these defensive animal situations defense against animal situations. And it’s very common, even when no one’s injured by the shot fired. For example, when people use deadly force to stop an animal attack upon themselves. Even if no one’s injured by that deadly force, you fire shot doesn’t hurt anybody.

If there are other people around who could have been injured by that shot, very common to see reckless, meaning criminally negligent endangerment charges brought in those cases, because your round could have hit anybody like the rounded here and hit a woman and killed her, unintentionally.

But there’s no such thing as a miss with a bullet, right, folks, it hits something before it stops. And you fire again at a dog in particular, frankly, dogs are not that easy to hit. They’re small, they’re moving fast. They’re aggressive. It’s very easy to miss.

And of course, there’s always a question to have well, was the dog really attacking? Or did you just not like the dogs attitude? I mean, what proof is there that you were about to be maimed by the dog?

Now, of course, we can all imagine circumstances in which a dog is rabid, and there’s witnesses and it’s clearly a threat. But in a lot of these cases, it’s far from clear whether there’s a threat or whether this poor quote unquote defender was just a jerk who won or an opportunity to whip out his gun fire shot in public Just like many people get upset about these police officers shooting of dogs because it appears in many circumstances, that it just wasn’t necessary. It was just maybe it was a cop just wanted to shoot a dog who knows? It’s not pleasant to contemplate.

But it’s not at all uncommon when people use guns discharge a gun in defense against an animal attack, that they end up charged with reckless endangerment and they kill somebody with that round.

Well, it doesn’t surprise me that this officer was charged with criminally negligent homicide as a result on the same basis, really the only difference between reckless endangerment or criminally negligent endangerment and criminally reckless homicide is that in the homicide, you killed somebody in the endangerment, you only risked killing somebody. So that’s how that works.

You know, more prudent folks is always to have a diversified self defense toolbox. So if you are facing an animal, hopefully you have something like OC spray and you can try the OC spray first. It’s not magic doesn’t always work either on people or animals. I’ve seen a bear attacks, people use the bear spray and get eaten anyway. But at least you’re not going to kill somebody by deploying OC spray. So if you can do that first, consistent safety, it’s probably prudent.

Brandishing of Firearm to Deter Less-Than-Deadly Attack

I got a question here from Anthony F., another Platinum member. He says he hears a lot of discussion about brandishing a firearm, as a less than lethal option against a threat. So it’s less lethal than shooting for example. And can it be defensible, if you’re not yet facing an imminent threat of deadly harm, so did it to deter an aggressor for example.

Now, if you were facing an imminent threat of deadly harm, and and the other conditions of self defense have been met, presumably you’d actually shoot right that person’s imminently about to kill you or maim you. So we’re not talking about that circumstance. We’re talking about a circumstance in which there’s a threat that’s not yet an imminent deadly force threat, but could escalate to that there’s good reason to believe it might escalate to a deadly force threat, but it’s not there yet. So you’re not privileged to actually use deadly defensive force yet.

And what you’d like to be able to do in theory is to display your gun show, pull back your jacket, put your hand on your gun, bringing the gun to a low ready, in particularly bringing your gun to a low ready could be characterized as brandishing the firearm displaying the firearm in a threatening manner, which really is what you’re doing, right? I mean, that is in fact what you’re doing, you’re doing it in what you think is lawful for lawful purposes.

But you are making the other person aware that you have a gun implicitly to threaten that you’ll use that gun if necessary, which is a threat of deadly force. So, if you do make another person aware that you have a gun in a threatening manner to change their behavior, you’ve technically checked all the boxes for a felony aggravated assault with a firearm, under what circumstances can such as display beat legally to Principle, not a crime, not a felony.

Unfortunately, this is largely a function of how prosecutors want to use their discretion or not. A lot of places in the country they’ll prosecutor will use their discretion if it seems at all credible that it was an act of self defense rather than a gun owner just being a jerk, for example, trying to look tough, but there was legitimate fear of harm in the gun was not actually used to cause deadly harm against that other person. It really was merely an effort to deter things from escalating further, the prosecutor may use their discretion in that respect.

Some jurisdictions like Texas have an explicit statute to that effect. If the guns displayed solely for the purpose of essentially deterring a further escalation. That’s a lawful use of force. Unfortunately, the real question is, well, who makes the judgment call on whether or not it was for purposes of de escalation?

The other guy is not going to say that the person you threatened with the gun brandish the gun against it’s not going to say, Well, it’s understandable I was threatening them. So they shouldn’t be the gun. So I would stop, they’re not going to say that they’re going to say you’re a lunatic who threaten them with a gun for no good reason.

So there’s two narratives, which one is the prosecution going to believe? Which one do they want to believe? If they’re an anti gun prosecutor or in an anti gun jurisdiction, like I used to live in Massachusetts, they’re highly prone to bring charges and let you fight it out in court, at the cost of 10s of thousands of dollars in maybe a felony conviction and prison time on your part. other jurisdictions tend not to treat guns of their rattlesnakes, and say, well, we can certainly understand under circumstances a person might be threatened and display again are perfectly lawful manner. And they may ascertain well, that looks like it could have been the case here. So we’re not going to prosecute that person.

The point is, the decision is not up to you and you don’t know what the decision is going to be at the time you’re brandishing. So when you have to make the decision on whether to brandish, you don’t know if you’ll be given the benefit of discretion or if you’ll be charged with a felony and have to go to trial.

So I discourage members of loss of defense community from displaying guns for purposes of mere deterrence under circumstances where the actual use of deadly force would not be justified.

Now, having said that, that doesn’t mean if you draw the gun you have to shoot the gun, sometimes between making the decision to present the gun and having to make the decision to press the trigger. Things change. The threat changes. That guy committing an armed robbery of you with the knife from a couple feet away. drops the knife backs away with his hands up. Well, is he still in them in a deadly force threat? arguably not. Was he when you made the decision to present the gun? Yes. Is he when you make the decision on whether to press a trigger? arguably not. So circumstances have changed.

The appearance is going to look very much like you drew for purposes of deterrence but that’s not in fact, what happened. When you drew the gun you would have been privileged to fire the gun in that moment, but in the time it took you to get the gun into position to fire the gun. The intensity of the threat had diminished to the point where arguably deadly defensive force was no longer warranted.

So I don’t want you to adopt the attitude of you’ve pulled a gun, you have to shoot it. That’s not the case. But I would discourage people from displaying the gun unless they would have been privileged to also discharge a gun under those circumstances. Anthony F.

And by the way, we did have a case just in the news and the last day or so, about a man in Florida who was surrounded by an angry mob one of these BLM and Antifa type protests. He’s in his car threatening situation he waves going around, apparently as he’s trying to drive his car out of the crowd. And it was just announced that the prosecution is going to dismiss the charges brought in that case. See if I can pull that up very quickly. charges dropped for Florida, man

Here we go.

Yes this case took place It was reported on by the way by, Cam Edwards, Bearing Arms always a good read. Hey Cam, hope you doing well. Hope your wife is doing well I know she’s been under the weather in a serious way so to speak hope it’s all going well.

So this happened in Gainesville, Florida protesters 64 year old William Connelly charged with six counts of third degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. It’s not good folks. But the local prosecutor dropped the case earlier this month now, [based on] the 64 year old says he was in reasonable fear for his life he was surrounded by the mob, etc. That’s why he brandished the gun.

And good for him. The prosecutors decided to drop the case, since there simply wasn’t enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges.

Good news for Connelly but keep in mind folks, he was charged in the first place and you’re charged in the first place. You’re going to be retaining a lawyer you’re going to be paying that lawyer you don’t get that money back just because charges were dismissed. Arguably, the charges got dismissed because of the lawyers efforts. So he’s earned that money.

Also keep in mind, the prosecutor did not have to make this call, it’s within his discretion, the prosecutor could have decided to take the whole thing to trial. And then 64 year old Connelly is on trial for six counts of third degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted, he’ll effectively be spending the rest of his life in prison to life sentence for him.

So he got lucky, the prosecutor decided to use his discretion in his favor. But that doesn’t mean that a different prosecutor with the same facts and the same law would have arrived at the same decision. It doesn’t even mean that this prosecutor this same prosecutor next week, with an essentially identical event would make the same call. It’s entirely within his discretion.

So the risk of this guy effectively spending the rest of his life in prison was real. He just got a lucky break is what happened. So don’t assume that just because this Prosecutor made this decision to drop these charges, that that’s always going to be the case, it will not always be the case the decision could easily go the other way.

Sharing Law of Self Defense Links on Other Sites

Anthony also asks, Is it in the best interest of law self defense to share hyperlinks to our website and other forums? He’s a little concerned I might get hate mail from other forms. Folks, don’t worry about it. I get hate mail every day and twice on Sundays. My legal analyses often runs contrary to certain political views in this country. And I’m used to it so hate mail threats, all that been doing dealing with it my entire career does not bother me. Feel free to share links to law, self defense anywhere you think it might be helpful to well intentioned people to learn more about the use of force and the law of self defense. All right, another Platinum member,

Increased Risk of Losing Physical Fight if Use Only Non-Deadly Force

Robert P. sends it a question he says non-deadly defensive force. Oh yeah. So he raises an interesting issue here. So when we’re talking about defensive force and the element of proportionality.

By the way, folks, when I say the element of proportionality, if you’re new to the loss of defense community, you don’t understand what I mean by these elements. There are up to five elements of a claim of self defense. They are innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance, and reasonableness. These are the building blocks of any claim of self defense in any state in the country. If you don’t understand what these five elements are, you can’t possibly understand how self defense law works or how it’s applied to real people in real cases. So I obviously would urge you to understand how these elements do work in a self defense claim.

If you do nothing else, I urge you to please download the free doesn’t cost a penny infographic on these five elements. It provides a brief description of each of those kind of a first step. along the path to understanding actual Self Defense Law, you absolutely must know these five elements if you don’t know anything else. You can get this infographic it’s just a PDF download at law of self defense comm slash elements. Do yourself a favor point your browser there open a tab right now, So at least you’ll have a working understanding of what these elements are.

So in terms of intensity of force involved in the use of force event, that’s the element of proportionality. The use of force law really puts force into one of two buckets deadly force or non deadly force. That’s really it. So the force you’re being threatened with is either non deadly in nature or its deadly in nature, meaning its force readily capable of causing your death or causing you serious bodily injury usually a maiming kind of injury or more than a mild injury, a mild injury would be the non deadly force pocket. So we’ve non deadly force and deadly force.

Well the element of proportionality, in Self Defense Law says in effect that your response to a threat or force has to be proportional to that threat of force, which really means if all you’re facing is a non deadly force threat, you can only use non deadly force and self defense. That’s proportionality. Only if you’re facing a deadly force threat, can you use deadly force and self defense? So if you’re only facing a non deadly force threat, you can’t use deadly force and self defense all on the same page.

But there is a little wrinkle if you’re facing a deadly force threat that would, assuming the other elements of self defense are also met, that would justify a deadly defensive force response, but you’re always allowed to use less force than the law would otherwise allow. So if you would be privileged to use deadly defensive force.

Because you’re facing a deadly force threat, you’re also privileged to use non-deadly defensive force. And you’re usually better off if you can just use non-deadly defensive force consistent with safety.

Some of the reasons you’re better off using non deadly defensive force, if possible, consistent with safety is one, then you’re less likely to kill the person and if you’re less likely to kill them, if that other person does not die, well then you’re not looking at a murder or manslaughter charge. At worst, you’re looking at a battery charge, which is the unfortunate event you get convicted is a lot less time in prison. So you don’t want to kill that person if you don’t have to.

Also, you’re frankly less likely to get brought to trial for a non deadly use of force case and a deadly use of force case. So if you’ve threatened deadly force or even killed somebody Now if you’ve killed somebody now we’re looking at murder or manslaughter charges. senior level prosecutors make their careers off murder cases, if they see an opportunity to work a murder case, they’re going to grab it with both hands. That’s the Major Leagues for them. That’s where they want to play. They don’t want to be doing pw eyes and simple assaults and simple batteries. That’s what the junior people in the prosecutor’s office are supposed to be doing. The newly minted lawyers are supposed to be doing those cases, murder manslaughter, that attracts the interest of the most senior prosecutors who can not only bring the greatest expertise to bear against you, but also the greatest resources to bear against you.

So to the extent you don’t appear on their radar because your use of force was not deadly in nature and you haven’t killed anybody that’s better for you, you do not want to be on their radar.

So generally speaking, if you can use only non deadly force, you’re probably better off doing that. Again, if you can do so consistent with safety.

The question that was said by Robert p here is essentially asking, but doesn’t that increase your risk of losing the physical fight? In other words, if you would have been justified in using deadly force and you decide not to you decide to limit yourself to only not deadly force, aren’t you increasing your Jeopardy?

The answer is, well, maybe, but maybe not. And I’m not urging anyone to increase their jeopardy. So if to secure your safety, you must use deadly defensive force, and of course, the conditions for these deadly defensive force have been legally met, then that’s what you do.

But there may be circumstances where you could stop and imminent deadly force threat with non deadly force means consistent with safety without increasing your Jeopardy and if you do have that option, then I would encourage you to take advantage of that option.

If that option means increasing your risk of dying in the fight, then I would not urge you to do that. You have to win the physical fight folks, that is the top priority, more important than the league. Fight if you don’t win the physical fight, everything else becomes less pressing. But if you can be secure in winning the physical fight without having to resort to deadly force by limiting yourself to a less intensity of force, you’re better off doing that.

Barehanded Deadly Force Threat to Elderly, Blood Thinners, etc.

Okay, another Platinum member question from William L. He writes, I’m just shy of 70 years old, several physical issues that make a severe blow to the head, or solar plexus potentially deadly. The implication meaning even when they might not be deadly to a younger, healthier person, he writes a muscle on blood thinners to prevent future clots from a DVT and pulmonary embolism that he’s had in the past. In my mind, it would seem that almost any situation in which I’m facing potentially deadly force, even only fists against a much younger person or two or more persons or a mob would constitute deadly force attack and would give me the legal right to exercise deadly defensive force.

So, this is one of the most common questions we get at law self defense. I’ve answered it before, but I’m always happy to answer it again. As we just talked about with proportionality before your privilege to use deadly defensive force, you need to be facing a deadly force threat. It’s a very simple principle. What’s complicated is not the principle. What’s complicated is the real world. What qualifies as a deadly force threat.

Now, some things clearly do. The use of a deadly weapon, a tool designed to inflict deadly force, a gun and knife use in an offensive manner clearly qualifies as force readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

Other things can be more ambiguous and some of that ambiguity can arise not from the nature of the force itself, but based on the characteristics of the victim of that use of force.

So as in this case, William writes that he’s on blood thinners while being on blood thinners means that a what would might well be a non deadly degree of harm to someone not on blood thinners or blow to the head or elsewhere, can readily be a deadly degree of harm to somebody who is on blood thinners.

The legal question is the same for either of them before they can be justified in using deadly defensive force were they facing a deadly force threat? What changes is, what qualifies as a deadly force threat?

So a young healthy person who’s not on blood thinners who’s facing the threat of a punch that may well be normally would be treated as a non deadly force attack. That same exact punch targeted instead at an older person on blood thinners does create a likelihood of death or serious bodily injury it’s become deadly force towards that older person on blood.

Then there’s the nature of the punch, didn’t change. It’s the characteristics of the victim that changed.

And again, the underlying question is the same. Is that punch likely to inflict death or serious bodily harm? If the answer is yes, it’s a deadly force threat, specific to that context.

So the punch against the young person not on blood thinners, the answer may be no, in which case the punch is non deadly force can be defended against only with non deadly defenses means.

With respect to the person who’s older on blood thinners that same punch could readily inflict death or serious bodily injury, it qualifies them as deadly force with respect to the person on blood thinners. And if it’s deadly force, it can be defended against with deadly defensive force.

Now keep in mind, just because you’re on blood thinners doesn’t mean you can just start shooting people. All the other elements still have to be met. You have to have been the non-aggressor, the threat has to be imminent. If you’re in a duty to retreat state, there may be a legal duty to retreat before you can defend yourself, your perceptions of the threat have to be both subjectively genuine in your belief. And also that belief has to be objectively reasonable.

So just because you’re on blood thinners doesn’t make you double oh seven with a license to kill, but it does change the analysis of what might qualify as a deadly force threat for purposes of the element of proportionality.

Effect of Unlawful Carry of Gun on Self-Defense

Now, William L also asks a separate question, but also one of the more common ones we get. He says he’s licensed to carry a gun in his jurisdiction. That’s all good. But he occasionally travels to another state where he’s not legally privileged to carry a firearm happens to be the state of New Jersey. What if he carries his gun there anyway? And then he ends up having to defend himself. What’s that do to his claim of self defense? Well, most states do not condition a claim of self defense, on being pure as the driven snow In other words, you might be engaged in some otherwise illegal conduct and still not lose your claim of self defense.

To illustrate a common example, somebody might be a street corner drug dealer, for example, and they’re on the corner selling drugs, clearly unlawful activity. But then they’re the victim of an armed robbery. Which by the way, is an occupational hazard for street corner drug dealers. not uncommon because they have guess what they got things that armed robbers like to have drugs and cash. So they find themselves a victim of an armed robbery. They can be privileged to defend themselves against that armed robbery attack just like anybody else could. The fact that they were dealing drugs does not strip them of their right of self defense against that attack, in most states.

There are a few states that do condition self defense, on not being engaged in otherwise unlawful activity, but most states do not.

Now of course, there is some unlawful activity that has the effect of stripping you of your right to self defense if the unlawful activity Have a nature that it makes you the initial aggressor, for example, well, that would lose you the element of innocence and lose you self defense. So there are forms of unlawful activity that can lose you self defense, but you don’t tend to lose self defense just because you might be engaged in some unlawful activity generally.

So in this context, you’re carrying a gun where you’re not supposed to be carrying a gun. In this particular case, you’re carrying a gun in New Jersey, you’re not New Jersey has not given you permission to carry a gun in their jurisdiction. So you’re committing a crime and unlawful act, then you have to act in self defense, what would be expected to have happen, and let’s not make new jersey specific.

But what you would expect to happen if you’re committing a gun law violation, and then you have to defend yourself is that you would retain all your privileges to self defense, then you still have to meet all the five elements of self defense as you normally would, but you’re not stripped of self defense just because you happen to be unlawfully in possession of the gun.

Of course, you’re also still on the hook for a separate gun charge and if you’re caught with a gun in New Jersey and you’re not supposed to have it, the penalties are severe. Same in New York, same in most of the vehemently, irrationally gun control states. So that can be a pretty severe punishment all by itself.

Obviously, as an officer of the court, I can’t encourage people to break the law, to go carry guns in places that are not supposed to. My advice would be don’t go to New Jersey. Having said that, I’ve got family in New Jersey, too, and go there occasionally, myself. That’s just how family obligations work.

But my expectation would be and your expectation should be if you have to defend yourself, you won’t have lost the self defense claim, but you will be on the hook for the gun charge.

Now what can happen, your self defense claim may look pretty robust, would not normally be something a prosecutor might want to take to trial, but the combination of the gun charge might lead them to say, hey, if we’re gonna go after him for the gun charge, let’s test a self defense claim, too, and now you’re on trial for both that concern happened.

Remember whether you got to trial on the self defense claim is in the discretion of the prosecutor. So if he wants to take you to court, you’re probably going to court, unless, you know, you get the benefit of his discretion.

And the prospects that someone unlawfully carrying a gun in a state like New Jersey would get the benefit of prosecutors discretion is pretty slim.

How to Prove/Disprove Self-Defense if No Eye-Witnesses?

Ike from Florida asks, What if there are no eyewitnesses? How did the authorities determine all the factors necessary to declare self defense?

It’s a great question. So you’re out in the woods, say by yourself, there’s no other humans around except for some dude who shows up and attacks you. You shoot him. How did the authorities know what happened if there’s no eyewitnesses?

Well, of course, they do it the same way they always do it. They collect all the evidence that is available.

And there is one eyewitness: there’s you, right, so they may get evidence from your own statements, your own testimony.

Also, there’s also all the non-human testimony. There’s the forensics. There’s other physical evidence.

If the person you “defended” yourself against has one gunshot hole to the back of their head, and there’s dirt on their hands and knees as if they were kneeling on the ground when you shot them, well, that’s all evidence from which the authorities can make reasonable inferences about what happened.

They don’t have to have a human being saying, it looked like murder to me. I mean, that wouldn’t even be controlling. They don’t need eye witnesses.

And by the way, in the modern world, you have to assume that no matter where you are, you’re being recorded. We all see these now everyone’s walking around with a smartphone, meaning everyone’s walking around with a video camera these days.

But even if there are no eyewitnesses per se, that does not mean that there is no evidence for the authorities to evaluate.

Brandishing Gun In Your Home Against Protestors

Chris are asks Can you illegally brandish your weapon in your own home now this would appear to touch on a news story that’s popped up in just the last day and that is There was a gentleman in his home with a large Trump banner or multiple Trump banners on the front of his house, outside in front of his house. It looks to me like on the street, were a bunch of anti Trump protesters, yelling, screaming, who knows, maybe threatening. In any case, the homeowner certainly felt threatened. And he could be observed through the window or the front door of his home, handling what appeared to be a long gun, rifle or shotgun.

And it was claimed by some of the protesters that he was pointing the gun at them from inside the home. They notified police who were in the area monitoring the protest, and the police went to the guy’s home and arrested him. And the question is, well, how can you be arrested for having a gun in your own home? How can you brandish a weapon in your own home? Aren’t you privileged to do what you want in your own home?

And the answer is, well, no, not really. You can imagine, for example, a more extreme scenario, the guy’s in his own home and he actually fires shots out and kills somebody. You don’t get to kill someone just because you’re in your own home.

And the way, Chris actually phrased the question here is interesting. It seems almost like a legal Freudian slip. He literally asked, “Can you illegally brandish your weapon in your own home?” Well, no. I mean, if it’s illegal, it’s illegal. So if you’re engaged in illegal conduct, it doesn’t become legal just because you’re in your own home. You can’t threaten to kill somebody unlawfully not meeting the conditions for a threat of defensive force, just because you’re in your own home that that’s on how that works.

In any case, I think the story here is more complicated. Now. I often talk and write about how prosecutors might diminish or even hide exculpatory evidence in a case and overemphasize incriminating evidence in a case in order to pursue a prosecution that really ought not be pursued because if you look all the evidence is pretty clear in self defense. This happens in a lot of cases.

But we have to be cautious about our own side doing the same thing. So just because someone’s a gun owner doesn’t mean necessarily that the use of their gun was lawful. In this particular case, see if I can pull this up here.

Now this came to my attention by a Twitter post by Andy Ngo, a journalist on Twitter. By the way, he does a lot of coverage independent journalism coverage of these Antifa/BLM crowd, he’s personally been viciously attacked by them, suffering a traumatic brain injury as a result, very, very brave. genuinely good journalists on all this riot protest looting arson stuff, particularly with respect to Antifa.

But he had posted up this new story about the gentleman in his house with the Trump banners facing this mob outside his home, perhaps a threatening mob getting arrested for brandishing his gun. And then to his credit, and he followed up with a press release from the local police department has happened in Milwaukee. So it’s the Milwaukee PD.

And the press release appears to shed some additional light. On this case, I’ll just read it to you so you can get the benefit of the actual language from the press release.

On Tuesday, September 15, at approximately 5:21pm officers were dispatched to a demonstration at a location where several individuals protested outside a suspects residence. This suspect would be the gentleman with the banners on his home.

At approximately 8:30pm. The officers who were monitoring the protests were notified by a witness that the suspect inside his residence residence by window was motioning a long gun as if you were chambering around and then pointing the gun at the crowd.

So he’s threatening the crowd with the gun, according to this witness.

The video the incident was subsequently broadcast on several social media outlets.

Now, of course, at this point, it can always be some ambiguity. Well, you know, there was just a guy holding the gun in his house, you’re certainly allowed to do that was is moving the gun around not intended to threaten the crowd. I mean, that could be an argument you make, or wasn’t intended to threaten the crowd unlawfully. Because if that’s the case, then it’s a crime, whether he’s doing it inside his house or outside of the house, you’re not allowed to threaten people with guns for no good reason. If you have a good reason, of course, that would be his legal defense to the charge.

But there’s more to the story than that. The officers say they made contact with the suspect and observed that he appeared to be intoxicated.

Well, you’re allowed to be intoxicated in your home, folks, but in many jurisdictions, you’re not allowed to be intoxicated and be handling weapons inside your home. It’s unlawful in most jurisdictions to be in possession of a firearm while you’re intoxicated.

And I know many of you are thinking that, well, it’s not that uncommon for that to happen, but nevertheless, in many jurisdictions, it’s against law. Most of the time when it happens, there’s no cops there to make an arrest. In this particular case, the cops were called. It appeared the gentleman was intoxicated. And he was ultimately arrested not for having a gun in his home per se, but for endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon while under the influence of an intoxicant.

And then disorderly conduct while armed and bail jumping.

Bail jumping, folks. That means he’d had a warrant out for his arrest or had an appearance that was required by the court, he’d paid bail, to secure his release. When you pay bail to secure your release, you’re being released on the promise that you’ll come back. If you don’t come back, you’ve jumped bail. Well, basically, it’s you maze. It’s the equivalent of having a warrant out for your arrest anyway.

So there were other grounds on which the officers were justifying this arrest, then a gun owner being in his home with his gun. So to the extent that’s being communicated to you, that’s not the whole story, and we need to be cautious about falling for only part of the story ourselves as I always criticize the other side for doing.

Alright folks, we’re getting near the top of the hour. Let me step through the comments here from our Law of Self Defense Members first.

Breonna Taylor $12MM Settlement

George are Hey, George, he’s here every show. Good to see you again. George asks, with respect to the $12 million settlement through Brianna Taylor, might it be that the local government has access to information evidence collected by the police or the DEA that we don’t know publicly, but this information led the city to believe that they were going to lose a lot more than $12 million isn’t went to trial? Therefore, they were willing to settle for 12?

The answer to that is yes. But I’m not sure how would we know. I don’t believe the investigation was over. Certainly it had not been submitted to a grand jury. And I see a great many cases in which these settlements are made long beforeany investigation is complete or we can have any really robust sense of whether or not the payment is justified.

And frankly a $12 million payment on a wrongful death suit to someone who by all appearances is herself a person participating in unlawful drug dealing at the time of her death. It strikes me as a rather extravagant sum of money.

Wrongful death is wrong, wrongful, and compensation ought to be paid if that’s actually what happened. But it does not appear to me that neither a comprehensive review of the facts evidence and law was done in this case, as opposed to the politician simply paying out money to make a political problem go away.

And of course they get to do this with other people’s money. The city fathers, the City Council, whoever makes this call on settlement, they’re not paying $12 million out of their own pocket. They’re spending taxpayers’ money to make their political discomfort go away.

Texas Penal Code §9.04

Oscar adds, guess you mentioned the Texas Penal Code §9.04. Threats as justifiable force. That is a provision for production of a weapon for defensive purposes. But again, it begs the question of was it really for defensive purposes, whose decision on that issue controls your legal outcome? It’s not your decision, folks. It’s the prosecutor, the judge the jury.

Fists as Non-Deadly v. Deadly Weapons

Oscar asks, Do courts typically treat fist as not the weapons the default for barehanded attack is going to be it’s a non deadly force attack, against which only non deadly defensive means can be used lawfully unless there are aggravating factors that somehow elevate that barehanded attack to a deadly force degree.

So someone’s bare hands choking you to death, an arm around your neck choking you. Either your blood flow or your respiration. That’s clearly a deadly force attack even though it’s bare handed.

An aggressor using their bare hands who’s much larger, stronger than you or has an exceptional fighting ability could Be a use of fists that can likely cause death or serious bodily injury in which case it’s a deadly force attack.

Multiple aggressors, attacking you simultaneously, clearly have the ability to inflict serious bodily injury where a single barehanded attacker might not. So that disparity of numbers can qualify as a deadly force attack, even if only bare handed.

Also characteristics of the victim as we’ve already described, a potential victim of a barehanded attack who’s uniquely vulnerable to death or serious bodily injury. And of course, they know this because they’re taking the blood thinner. They know that fist can easily kill them or it might not kill a person not on blood thinners that becomes a deadly force attack in their particular circumstances.

But absent those kinds of aggravating circumstances, you must assume that a barehanded attack is going to be treated by the courts as a non deadly force fight. They do not want you to use a gun to settle what they perceive as merely a fistfight.

Yes, I know a single punch can and sometimes does kill people. But it happens so rarely, that the courts are unwilling to presume that every thrown punch is a deadly force attack that can be countered with gunfire.

Legal Definition of Disparity of Force

Where can I find a legal definition of disparity of force there is really no concrete legal definition disparity force means literally what it means that, that there is a difference in degree of force. But there’s many disparity of forces that don’t change the use of force law equation or legal outcome, you know, to shouts is more than one chef. They’re the both non deadly force. Two people poking you with their fingers is double one person poking you with a finger. That’s if you’re poking back with one finger. There’s a disparity of force but it doesn’t really change the legal analysis.

The important thing about degree of force for legal purposes is has it escalated to the deadly force level. That’s the game changer until it gets there. It doesn’t change much.

Intoxicated Gun Possession/Hunting While Intoxicated

George mentions that in New York, you can be drunk and have a gun. But if you’re over point oh eight while hunting, that’s illegal.

Well, I don’t know if that’s true because I don’t do gun law. I’ll take George’s word. And of course, hunting rules are simply independent of everything else regardless.

Okay, let’s take a look at Facebook in the last couple minutes we have left.


Thanks for everyone who joined by the way, folks, it’s always appreciated if you tell your friends, family, others you think might benefit from what we have to share about our Thursday 4pm Eastern Time news and q&a show. They can find it at our blog la self defense comm slash blog. We do leave the show’s open access there as well, or they can catch the live show on Facebook or YouTube at 4pm eastern time every Thursday always appreciated.

Let’s see. Well, it looks like most of the questions on Facebook were also answered. I already answered in the membership, and we are right at the top of the hour. Perfect, perfect timing.

So folks, I will say again, thank you so much for coming. Please join us again every week.

Law of Self Defense Trial Membership

I would encourage you, of course, to consider our trial membership for loss of defense, you can do that for just 99 cents 200% money back guarantee. It’s a negative risk opportunity, folks. If you stay a member and most people do, it’s still only about 33 cents a day, 995 a month for hours and hours and hours of this kind of Self Defense Law, information, expertise and education. So I hope you’ll take advantage of that opportunity.

In the meantime, I will say Remember, if you carry a gun so that you’re hard to kill, I urge you to make You also know the law so that you’re hard to convict. And with that, folks I am attorney Andrew Branca for Law of Self Defense. Until next time, stay safe


This Law of Self Defense LLC content is presented for general educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, consult competent legal counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.

4 thoughts on “News/Q&A Show: Sept. 17, 2020”

  1. When you talk about bare handed attacks not being a deadly
    Force threat does a credible verbal or written threat from an attacker charge that?

    Please excuse this if it’s overly dramatic , but I don’t want to be boring.

    For example say I have a “stalker “ somebody of similar stature , fitness and fighting ability, on the record as threatening to “gouge your eyes out with my best hands then choke the life out of you the next time I see you “. Let’s assume this person also has a restraining order against contact with me and the threat is in the court record.

    The stalker finds me out of my home and “corners me “ in alone a secluded alley while taking out the garbage. Let’s assume retreat is neither possible nor required in my state. He then says “ I told you what I was gonna do , now it’s time to die “ and advances on me ?

    Does his previous threat to do serous bodily injury change the bare handed attack ?

    Would brandishing be legal generally before he attacks ? What about shooting should the attack begin ?

    For fun let’s say the stalker in his written threats also claimed to won several fights with bigger men than me.

    Thanks in advance. I hope this makes the next show

  2. The law in most states gives you the right to defend yourself with deadly force when you reasonably believe you are in imminent danger of serious physical injury or death, or a forcible felony. Never saw a self defense law that said anything about you being attacked with deadly force or deadly weapons. If you have a good reason to believe you are about to suffer serious physical injury or death, or a forcible felony, then you are in a deadly force situation. As for fists being deadly weapons, they never are, as for fists being capable of causing serious physical injury or death, you should have learned by the time you were 16 that they are definitely capable of serious physical injury or death. Over half the aggrivated assaults in the United States are committed by personal weapons (fists, feet), If I remember correctly that is about 400,000 per year. Statistics give you a 1 in 5 chance of being killed or seriously injured when assaulted by an “unarmed man.” A lot easier to justify the use of a deadly weapon in self defense when your attacker is armed, or when you have suffered serious physical injury, but you can justify the use of a deadly weapon on an unarmed assailant with no more than reasonable belief that it is necessary.

    1. Attorney Andrew Branca

      “Statistics give you a 1 in 5 chance of being killed or seriously injured when assaulted by an “unarmed man.” ”

      To be relevant to the point under discussion your numerator would have to capture every bare handed attack in America, not just those sufficiently serious to be reported to authorities. If the actual number of bare handed attacks not reported to authorities, and not captured in any governmental crime statistics, is merely 100 times greater than those reported, then your figure goes from 1 in 5 to 1 in 500. For all we know it’s 10,000 times greater, so we’re at 1 in 50,000. Quite a different perspective than 1 in 5.

      What’s your source for every bare handed attack in America?


      Attorney Andrew F. Branca
      Law of Self Defense LLC

      1. I didn’t make a note of where I got the information, but if my memory serves me correctly I either got that statistic from a statement made by Andrew Branca within the past 60 days, or from FBI stats. If it was from FBI stats, you would have to do the math yourself—-total number of reported simple assaults plus total number of reported aggrivated assaults with personal weapons added together, and the sum then divided into the total number of reported aggrivated assaults with personal weapons gives you the percentage of unarmed assaults reported to the FBI that resulted in serious physical injury. Really doesn’t matter what the actual statistic is, any time a person with the apparent ability to cause you serious physical injury attacks you with physical force, it is reasonable for you to believe that you are about to suffer serious physical injury. It would be unreasonable not to believe that you were were about to suffer serious physical injury since your attacker has already demonstrated his aggressiveness, his lack of respect for the law. and his lack of respect for your personal anatomy. The right to use deadly force in self defense is not based on the type of weapon you are being attacked with, it is based on your reasonable belief that the use of deadly force is necessary to protect yourself from serious physical injury or death, or a forcible felony. Admittedly, it is a lot harder for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not have the required reasonable belief when your attacker was armed with a deadly weapon, or even a dangerous instrument, than it is for a prosecutor to make that proof when your attacker was armed with personal weapons. But when you actually have the required reasonable belief, you aren’t going to be worried about a prosecutor, you are going to be worried about survival.

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