Wichita Convenience Store Shooting Shows the Importance of Stand Your Ground Laws

wichita self defense shooting stand your ground

courtesy kansas.com and Chance Swaim

Yep We can learn a lot about the state of armed self-defense in this country by looking at one medium-size town in Kansas. A couple of stories from Wichita this week nicely encapsulate the extent of civilian gun ownership, the reason people arm themselves and what happens when they do.

First, let’s start with a defensive gun use. Four armed men walked into a gas station convenience store in the middle of the afternoon Friday, intent on committing a robbery. An unidentified armed 42-year-old man was in the store at the time.

“A customer was in line when four individuals came in at gunpoint and demanded money,” he said. “The citizen also got robbed and the citizen pulled a gun and shot at the suspects.”

Several shots were reportedly fired, but it is unknown whether the suspects returned fire, police said.

At least one of the suspects was shot and was still at the crime scene when officers arrived. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition after he was shot once in the head, Halloran said.

That un-named suspect has since died. His three partners in crime were last seen fleeing from the scene. The c-store stick-up apparently wasn’t their first that day.

Wichita police think this robbery is related to an earlier robbery just after noon on Friday at the Family Dollar Store, 936 S. Woodlawn, the release said. Three robbers in that case held up an employee at gunpoint and took money and cigarettes.

The Wichita Eagle’s reports on the shooting make sure to discuss the application of Kansas’s ‘stand your ground’ law. And from the accounts of the convenience store robbery and shooting, this certainly sounds like a textbook example of justifiable use of force in a self-defense situation.

The shooting also apparently prompted the Eagle to look at self-defense shootings in the town over the last decade or so.

Wichita had more homicides this year than any year since 1995, driven in part by an increase in self-defense killings, an analysis of law enforcement records shows.

At least 43 people died by homicide in Wichita this year, up five from last year. The increase came because of self-defense killings, which increased by five — from three to eight, Wichita police said.

Kansas enacted its stand your ground law in 2007. The Eagle accurately describes the law as protecting those who use deadly force to defend themselves anywhere they have a legal right to be.

Kansas is one of many states where citizens have no legal duty to retreat from an attacker in any place where they are lawfully present. A killing is justifiable in Kansas when a person “reasonably believes” that the use of deadly force is “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” to that person or a third party.

Decisions about whether the eight killings were justified in 2018 were not made by a judge or jury but instead by by (sic) prosecutors based on evidence gathered by police. One case will be argued next month to determine whether another homicide will be added to the self-defense category.

Under Kansas law, prosecutors can’t file charges against someone in a self-defense killing unless the state can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a person did not act in self-defense, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said.

In other words, the burden of proof is placed on the state. A lawful gun owner who defends him/herself doesn’t have to prove they were acting in self-defense. A prosecutor has to prove that the defender acted unreasonably given the circumstances and the evidence.

In the past three years, Wichita police have worked five times as many justifiable homicides as during the first six and a half years of the stand-your-ground law, according to numbers provided by police. From 2006 to the middle of 2012, Wichita police worked three justifiable homicide cases, police said at the time. From 2016 to 2018, there have been 15.

Wichita isn’t exactly a hotbed of crime. The town of just under 400,000 people is the largest in Kansas and what the Eagle describes as five times as many justifiable homicides since SYG became law is, as they note, starting from a base of only three.

But Wichita’s experience with the state’s stand your ground as described by the Eagle is precisely what the legislature in Kansas and other states expected when they enacted the law. Law-abiding citizens should have the right to protect themselves no matter where they may find themselves when faced with the threat of death or serious bodily harm.

Police response times, even in the best of situations, are never fast enough to intervene in a fast-developing situation like Friday’s c-store robbery. And as we’ve noted before — and courts have affirmed — police have no duty to protect citizens. You are, quite literally, your own first responder.

And yet there are efforts in some states to repeal stand your ground protections. Opponents of civilian firearm ownership call SYG a license to kill, much as they mau-mau’d the NRA’s Carry Guard coverage as “murder insurance.” They’ll say and do anything to make law-abiding citizens hesitant to exercise their Second Amendment rights and dissuade them from carrying a gun, as is their constitutional right.

Americans use firearms over one million times annually to defend themselves, usually without ever firing a shot. Rolling back protections covering the lawful use of self-defense weapons will cost innocent lives. That’s why these efforts must be opposed at every opportunity.

comments

  1. avatar The Rookie says:

    I’m wondering if the Kansas SYG law includes civil liability protection (i.e. not getting sued after a justified DGU) as well? I haven’t found anything one way googling at this point.

    1. avatar Yepnope says:

      You know the family is or will be all over the news with the “he was a good person” and “he was getting his life together”. Disgusting that a scumbags family can sue someone for doing all law-abiding people a favor

      1. avatar possum the red nose pitbull says:

        Wichita Ks , I doubt it, if anything the convenient store will sue the family of the perp for damages.

      2. avatar Alan says:

        If the dead stickup mans family sues, think counter suit.

      3. avatar ernest watts says:

        Lawyers, That’s why in a revolution ,lawyers and judges must go first.

    2. avatar Starfire06 says:

      Yes, here in Kansas if you are not indicted you are automatically shielded from civil charges.

      1. avatar The Rookie says:

        Thanks!

      2. avatar Yepnope says:

        That’s awesome. Good for Kansas

      3. avatar LazrBeam says:

        The next time I run into my county DA at Tractor Supply as we’re buying dog food I need to see how that shielding thingie works here in Bama. Never thought about it before but glad I saw this so I’ll be prompted to find out. Inquiring minds and all of that. Thanks. BTW, I hope everybody here has a happy, safe, and prosperous 2019.

        1. avatar Jason(Possessor of 2.5 TTAG points) says:

          We’re immune from civil suits in Alabama too if we are forced to ventilate one of these thugs.

          https://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2015/12/alabama_stand_your_ground_immu.html

      4. avatar Dale in Kansas says:

        I’ve said it before and I’ll will say it again, Kansas has the best gun laws.

        1. avatar Blkojo says:

          Arizona. Year in, year out. Number one on Guns & Ammo’s list. Other lists generally agree.

        2. avatar Starfire06 says:

          Yeah we do. Unfortunately, or fortunately depends how you view it, we’re moving to Texas soon to be closer to Daughter and Grandkids and contrary to popular thinking Texas doesn’t have near the freedom Kansas and other states have in regards to gun laws. I especially hate the 30.06/7 laws. Here in KS if a shop puts up a “No Guns Allowed” sign it doesn’t have force of law backing. All they can do is tell you to leave.

        3. avatar 22winmag says:

          NH is more gun friendly than them all- plus no sales tax or income tax!

  2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “one of the suspects was shot… in the head… has since died.”

    This is why I’m a believer in government-funded marksmanship training. Proper shot placement saves taxpayers the cost of lengthy hospitalization, a jury trial and subsequent incarceration. Such programs would save money in the long run.

  3. avatar Yarbles says:

    Good shooting, sir!

    A little more training and practice yielding a faster response and he may have gotten the other two accomplices who will probably try again as they did previously that day.

    You can never train or practice too much.

    SYG is are important laws for the law abiding citizen’s defense. Globlist Elites have targeted these laws for that specific reason.

  4. avatar WhiteDevil says:

    If police have no duty to protect citizens, then why the fuck do we have police. We were screwed long ago when policing morphed into its current status as a debt collection enforcement arm of the USG. We should have never allowed it to get that way. The attitude of some police officers is what I find beyond reproach. They have this “air” to them, not all of them, that seems to say that they are the masters and we are beholden to their every whim. More people need to remind them that they are here to serve us, not the opposite.

    1. avatar RMS1911 says:

      They aren’t here to “serve you” but to keep you in line through enforcement of policy.

    2. avatar BisonBob says:

      They’re nothing ore than tax collectors.

  5. avatar possum the red nose pitbull says:

    Kansas, takes a while to hoe out all the weeds but their working on it.One thing about syg, some people bring their syg mindset to another State that may not have it. The Right to Bear Arms should be nation wide.

  6. avatar Dknowles says:

    As a Wichita citizen myself, I have to say good on the well demonstrated usage of the Stand Your Ground Laws. However for the author, I would like to make a point of correction.

    Within the State of Kansas, Wichita is the Largest city. While yes “Kansas City” is Larger, however it is split between two states, Kansas City, Mo, and Kansas City, KS. The majority of it is on the Missouri side, with the KS side being much smaller than Wichita. It’s a point of accuracy that should be corrected if only as it makes Wichita seem smaller than it truly is within the scope of Kansas.

    1. avatar possum the red nose pitbull says:

      Yup, good old “Air Cap”…., KC Ks. is a shthole suburb of KCMO imo

    2. avatar Eric says:

      LOL You beat me to the punch!

    3. avatar Wedge259 says:

      I also live in Wichita and have to remind people about the KC thing too. I’ve lived here my whole life and have no intention of leaving! Just bought and moved into my first house last week.

  7. avatar Eric says:

    Um, just a seconds worth of Google time would have let you correctly name Wichita AS the largest city in Kansas. Take it from a person that lives here…

    Kansas City is actually two separate cities.
    Kansas City, Kansas only has like 160k.
    Kansas City, Missouri, on the other hand, has upwards of 700k

    Go Shockers!

  8. avatar Enuf says:

    The Eagle report says the dead robber was 16 years old. The moral responsibility for that death is on the other robbers, especially any of adult age. If caught, I hope Kansas has laws similar to many states that whatever bad things happen in the course of a crime the criminals are all responsible whether they directly did the bad things or not.

    1. avatar Alan says:

      If correct, an obvious lack of parenting skills, though unfortunately not of reproductive capabilities.

    2. avatar Kay Flyte says:

      It’s called the felony murder law and yes, Kansas has one. An unlawful killing of anyone, (deliberate or accidental, involved or not) makes all participants equally liable… even the getaway car driver.

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    And yet a bunch of you TTAG regular’s thought the little older white guy shouldn’t shoot the large black man assaulting him for the “crime” of yelling at his illegally parked babymama in FloriDUH…Happy New Year😄😎😏

    1. avatar binder says:

      So you think people should instigate confrontations while armed? Think about that very carefully before you answer.

    2. avatar Enuf says:

      You have no duty to run away. Nor do you have a duty to shoot. The “old guy” pushed to the ground who pulled a gun was out of danger, the assailant backed off and was retreating. The video shows that, that is why the shooter was charged. It did not help that witnesses have come forward on the shooter having instigated other confrontations and threatening to shoot.

      “Stand Your Ground” laws are supposed to be protection against overreach and wrongful prosecution by prosecutors. Not an excuse to shoot people who have already ceased to be a threat.

      1. avatar donnie says:

        Once a person with the ability and the opportunity to cause you bodily harm or death puts you in jepordy of bodily harm or death by taking the opportunity to use his ability, he remains a threat to your immediate safety until he is incapicated, or until he has withdrawn a sufficient distance from you that he no longer has the opportunity to use his ability. In my opinion, the initial aggressor had not withdrawn a sufficient distance from the assault victim to effectively communicate his withdrawal from the affray.

  10. avatar TomC says:

    The one thing about this story that really caught my attention was the continued unchallenged myths of the so-called Stand Your Ground laws.

    1) The first myth is that such laws are unusual. In fact, the concept that you may defend yourself with force, including lethal force, if attacked is the normal standard. Only a few states have invented a “duty to retreat” where an individual attacked with lethal force is required to try to run away.

    2) The second myth is that placing the burden of proof on the state is somehow unusual. The fact that the state must prove any charge “beyond any reasonable doubt” was the cornerstone of US law until very recently when the federal government started adopting laws placing the burden of proof on the accused. This has always been the purpose of both the grand jury system and the arraignment process, to require the prosecution to present evidence that a crime has actually been committed and that there are reasonable grounds to believe the accused committed that crime.

    3) The third and largest myth is that Stand Your Ground laws exist at all! Name one state where the phrase “stand your ground” appears anywhere in self-defense law.

    Like “Assault Weapons” and “Gun Violence” the phrase “Stand Your Ground Law” is an invention of the media designed to support their anti-gun narrative.

    1. avatar donnie says:

      A number of states have laws that use the words “stand your ground.” Florida is one. Some states even double down and use the words “stand your ground” and “no duty to retreat.” Some states triple down and use the words “stand your ground” and use force “when and to the extent you reasonably believe it to be necessary…………, and there is no duty to retreat.”

  11. avatar mike hill says:

    Tell all that to John Kasich, who recently vetoed a law that would have forced prosecutors in the state of Ohio to prove some self-defense action was unwarranted, as opposed to some poor soul having to prove his/her action WAS justified. Fortunately for Ohioans the legislature overrode Gov. Kasich’s veto. And Kasich wants to be President.

    1. avatar Sneaky White 13 says:

      Kasich, is a dangerous RINO. He needs to be OFF the national stage. He seems to love tossing crap all over Conservatives and our US CONSTITUTION and the ideals it plainly states. As a KANSAS resident, I am concerned of the decidedly bad turn to a demoncrat governor and an avowed leftist that beat congressman Yoder, in the sanctuary of Johnson County. I do expect to see our Kansan gun rights to be erroded. It will take our Republican Senate to be the blocking force….stay tuned.

  12. avatar Mikial says:

    I like Kansas . . . except for the tornadoes. I was there a couple of years ago for work and I really liked at atmosphere.

    1. avatar Kay Flyte says:

      Oklahoma and northern Texas have more fatal tornados than Kansas. Nearly all tornados in Kansas create property damage but no deaths or injuries.

  13. avatar Bill Seiber says:

    just like in the american express commercial don’t leave home without it. Just today I read where in Texas a family was leaving a Walmart and for some reason someone in a pickup pulled up to their car and opened fire killing a child ,you never know when you may need to protect yourself or family. I drove over the road for44yrs. and carried every where I went I only needed my weapon five times in those yrs.Once to stop a kidnapping ,twice to stop an assault on a helpless victim,the other two times to protect myself.Maybe you think I just making it all up but it is the truth.

  14. avatar Wedge259 says:

    As a resident, I can say that it’s been mentioned in the local news that the perpetrators were 16 and 17, I believe the one that was killed was 16. I’m sure he was just “turning his life around”. This is just another case that reinforces my belief that Kansas is one of the best, if not THE best States for gun rights in the country.

    1. avatar donnie says:

      I don’t believe Kansas self defense law justifies the threatened use of deadly force (display of a deadly weapon in a threatening manner) if you don’t actually use the weapon to apply physical force. Florida self defense law justifies both the use of force and the threatened use of force.

  15. avatar sick_of_the_lies says:

    The legislation here in Ohio was amended, & the portion relating to SYG was eliminated, unfortunately, before it even got to our turncoat RINO governor, Mr. Ka-suck. The legislature lost density in their collective backbone, and caved to opposing police and gun control lobby. Substitute H.B. 228 was eventually passed by super-majority override of the Kasich veto…who openly stated that he would only support the adoption of ‘Red Flag’ law in Ohio, and no other firearm-related bills would get past him. He even refused to sign a bill earlier this year which allowed current and veteran police and military to obtain and renew their CCLs without need of a state-approved class, or the associated fees. Kasich still claims he supports the 2A. He is just a rat gun grabber looking to gain appeal with the left. I used to respect him; now, I detest him. Pray he only makes it to the White House as a tourist!

    1. avatar Busterdog says:

      Trump will make short work of Governor Kasich. He’s a lightweight and anyone with a brain knows it. I can’t wait to see a debate between Trump and Kasich.Especially when he looks down and gets all studdering. It’s amazing Kasich lasted as long as he did in the 2016 primary. Florida is the first state to start a wide spread shall issue program for concealed carry, and the first Stand your Ground law in the country. With over 2 million CWP’s issued to the states citizens, there are more people in this state that are armed in any other state. Simply put, “An armed society is a polite society”. Violent crime and murder are down 30% over the last 30 years. And although it still happens in Florida, it could be a hell of a lot worse. Criminals in Florida think twice when 1 in 10 people might be armed.

      1. avatar Anymouse says:

        Kasuck lasted so long because he was too stupid or trapped in Trump/Cruz hatred to quit. He only won his own state. If anything, he helped Trump by splitting the never-Trump vote.

  16. avatar Ranger Dave says:

    Think I need to move to Kansas…

  17. avatar Geoff says:

    Prosecutor asks Police Officer why he shot the deceased 5 times.
    Officer replied “Four wasn’t enough and six was too many.”

  18. avatar TheTruthBurns says:

    One of the many beauties of living in Florida is we have Castle Doctrine which allows use of force when you are on your home property, in your vehicle or at your place of employment or business if you perceive a threat to your life or well being – the reason we added SYG was to extend that protection. In most cases SYG has worked but living in Florida we have some dumbasses who don’t care or understand the word Stand not to Pursue & shoot someone in the back. I still think having carry coverage is a great idea based on the Many idiot & uneducated Badge wearers. I have dealt with young uneducated SJW Sheriff Deputies who side with every Crack Whore you ever met. Always Shoot to Kill & Empty your gun. Never apologize for Eliminating Criminal Scum! God Bless to All of you here on this site.

    1. avatar donnie says:

      You have to do more than perceive a threat in Florida. You must have a reasonable belief that the person is using or threatening the imminent use of unlawful force. This means you have to have a reasonable basis for both beliefs (use or imminent use of force and unlawfulness of that force) and a judge must find your reasons to be “reasonable.” You also have to have a reasonable belief that the degree of force you used in the affray was “necessary” to defend in the circumstances as you reasonably believed them to be, and again, a judge must find your reasons to be reasonable. If the judge agrees with you the charges will be dismissed and if not, well then you get a chance to see if a jury will agree with you.

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