The rules on justifiable homicide vary from state to state. Take the time to Google and read your state’s laws. Generally speaking, you are OK to shoot someone in self-defense if that person poses an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm. But there are caveats. One of the most important . . .
You must not be the aggressor. If you start a fight, you’re not going to have an easy time convincing the police, prosecutor, DA, judge and/or jury that you acted in self-defense. That’s true even if your combatant escalates the conflict to a potentially lethal level. And it’s certainly not true if a fight ends and you re-engage. Like this [via ski.com]:
A Sevier County man has been charged with murder in a shooting that followed an apparent brawl.
William Gene Muir, 39, [above] was charged with murder Monday in 6th District Court in the death of David Rioja, 36. Rioja’s body was found after two 911 calls came into dispatchers on Nov. 22 — one reporting shots fired, and another reporting an assault.
In the second call, a man later identified as Muir “said he had been in a fight with a man with a baseball bat and that he had shot him.” . . .
[A witness] told officers Muir had come to the house looking like he had been assaulted and then left again. When he returned a second time, he was carrying a gun, court documents state.
The woman explained that Muir keeps the gun in his lunchbox, which was found open with ammunition nearby.
In all likelihood, Muir is going down. It’s important to note that the length of time between the initial fight and the second, lethal encounter makes no never mind. If a fight ceases even for a few seconds and you resume hostilities, you are presumed to be the aggressor. Which removes any credible claim of self-defense.
Again, a justifiable defensive gun uses requires an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm. If the aggressor stops hostilities and then he or she resumes a potentially deadly or severely wounding conflict, you are within your rights to use deadly force to stop it.
Basically, don’t be aggressive. Whenever possible, don’t into fights. If you find yourself in one and have an opportunity to disengage, take it. Call the cops. And thank your lucky stars you didn’t have to use your firearm. [h/t PB]