25 yards is too far away for legal defense nonsense.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Trey Veston, Feb 27, 2020.

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  1. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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    Quite frequently when the discussion about firearm accuracy is brought up, there always seems to be a couple of people that state the opinion that shooting someone 75' from you is not legally justified so practicing at that distance is a waste.

    I just saw it stated on another forum in a recent thread...

    "in many cases, engaging a target at 25 yards would leave you with 'splainin to do."

    "Sure 25 is fun, but I’ll argue it’s not practical for EDC situations as a civilian."

    "As has been said, if you shoot someone who is 75' away you may have a very tough time explaining how you felt you were at risk of severe bodily harm or death."


    Those are actual quotes by gun owners on a different firearms forum, though I've seen similar statements here.

    I think they are ridiculous and without merit.

    They, and others with the same line of thinking, think that someone threatening you with a gun or shooting at you 75' away is somehow too far away to be a threat and defending yourself at that distance is somehow not legal or not warranted.

    Pretty sure I can hit someone with a rock at 75' away.

    I think the argument boils down to whether or not you have a legal justification to self-defense, which usually boils down to would a reasonable person in the same situation feel their life was in danger.

    I can make head shots at 75' with a stock Glock 19 in a stressful match, so pretty sure someone pointing a gun at me 75' away is a valid case for self-defense.

    Since this is the legal forum, has there been a case in which someone being shot at from a further distance returned fire and it was ruled not a good shoot?

    Is there any legal standard that would put 75' as too far to defend yourself?
     
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  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    If someone is trying to kill me I don't care how far they are, my dad always said better going to jail then being dead. I can't see it being a problem as long as there still a threat and your or others lives are in danger.
     
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  3. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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  4. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't have time to go digging into Westlaw right now, but I'll try to circle back this later. Generally speaking, though, the justification for deadly force in SD revolves around the SD Shooter having a reasonable fear of imminent death or imminent serious physical injury. For the SD shooter, the greater the distance to the threat, the less "imminent" that threat becomes. The SD shooter will have to explain the shooting at any distance, but it gets more difficult to justify at longer ranges.
     
  5. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    It certainty seems like it all would depend on the circumstances and the firearms being used.

    Someone shooting at me with a scoped rifle at 75 feet, I would certainly fear death or injury! I would be shooting back with whatever handgun I had at the time,
     
  6. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    All you need is a jury of your peers com to the conclusion the homicide was justifiable. Distance between, isn’t written in any laws I am aware of.

    As far likely distance for engagement, that just comes from statistical data. If only 5 out of 100 SD shootings are further apart, the chance is pretty small you would ever be involved in an SD shooting much less one that far. That does not mean that it could never happen.
     
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  7. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    There are no state or federal laws that define self defense distances. When people start talking about distance as a defining factor of legality, or of shot placement as a defining factor, I know they have poor comprehension of the law, and that goes for a couple of firearms instructors I have had.
     
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  8. Sistema1927

    Sistema1927 Member

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    Somebody shooting at me with any firearm from 25 yards, or greater, is a deadly imminent threat.

    Besides, there is another component to factor in. Most deadly threats are not standing still or may be using cover. The practice necessary to place rounds precisely at 25 yards, and beyond, will assist one in hitting moving targets at closer distances, or to hit a smaller presented target.
     
  9. Trey Veston

    Trey Veston Member

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    That's the part that I can't wrap my head around. To me, someone who has grown up around guns and is a pretty good shot, would feel an imminent threat if someone was shooting at me or other innocents at nearly any distance.

    Now if I use a urbanized standard, like If I'm walking down the street in the city and a car pulls up 75' down the block and someone inside starts shooting at someone on the sidewalk, then starts to drive off, I think engaging that vehicle would be foolish and legally questionable.

    A rural example would be if I'm out hiking along a trail, and someone guarding their pot grow walks out from behind a tree 50 yards away and levels a handgun or rifle at me and begins popping off rounds, I would be in fear for my life. At that distance, I can't tell if it's a Hi-Point or a high-end target 1911. I would dang sure be drawing and moving to cover ready to engage them.

    Yet to some, because the distance was so great, it would be a bad shoot. I know with certainty that I can hit a man-sized target at 50 yards with any of my pistols.

    Then, in the case of being in a shopping mall in the common area and I hear shots and people screaming and see a guy with a rifle walking calmly down the mall shooting women and children 100' away, I can legally run for the nearest exit with no legal ramifications. But, I could also draw my pistol from behind cover and take careful aim and end the threat with no legal ramifications, either. Of course providing I made sure there were no innocents in the background and I had a clear shot.

    Again, that sort of incident would be ruled "illegal" by those that argue anything beyond ten yards will get you in trouble with the law. Which just seems silly to me.
     
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  10. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    The OP mentioned legality and practicality-- two different things.

    The likelihood that one will have to resort to deadly force for self preservation is a whole lot higher at short ranges. An assailant is far more likely to want to take you out to get your money and/or car than to just shoot to harm you from a distance of seventy five feet.

    That could be the understatement of the year. Shooting at someone who is driving away would not be a good idea at any distance.

    If you could get to cover, disengage them, and depart safely, you would be ahead of the game.

    How about consistently scoring effective hits at distance?

    If you include the need to spend a lot of money on your attorney, and time before resolution, as "trouble with the law", any shooting is apt to "get you" there, in either the criminal just system or the civil courts. And the probability that things will not turn out well would be greater than zero.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  11. whughett

    whughett Member

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    Deleted
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  12. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    If you were able to hit the perpetrator with a gun at 75'; wouldn't he/she also be a threat to you at 75'?
     
  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I did not notice bullets falling to the ground when they travel more than 10 feet. If a blind pig can find an acorn in the forest, you can get hit by someone who has no marksmanship ability other than luck. The one thing that beats skill, talent, and circumstance is luck.

    sometimes, bad luck happens

    Ediaxxw.jpg
     
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  14. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    Legally, a lot of variables would be in play. How easily could you get away from the threat? How far away is the closest cover that you could use? Who is with you that you would also be protecting? Is the threat actively shooting at you, waving a gun in your general direction, or engaging others? At that distance, how much of a crowd is between you and the threat, which might become collateral damage? There are no hard and fast rules in self-defense, which is why no one can prepare for it.
     
  15. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    The reasonable person objective standard and the totality of the circumstances are often difficult for folks to wrap their heads around. Instead, one might consider what would a prudent peaceful person do.

    Such a person would avoid lethal force except at the gravest extreme regardless of what the black letter law permits and try to take all of the factors, including risk to others not involved in the fight into account, plus make every indication that the prudent person would choose disengagement at each step if able to do so rather than use lethal force. That means availing oneself of calling the police, retreat to a safe place, etc. instead of striding out for battle with the forces of evil with ominous movie music playing in your head.

    Just because the law does not specifically forbid it, some factor like distance can be considered whether or not a defendant's action was reasonable. Thus, on an open prairie where no one is around for miles with no cover and a guy shooting at you has a scoped rifle, then a jury might find firing back with lethal force legal at 100 yards but it might not if the guy was a hunter in season and you were wearing camouflage. In that case, hitting the dirt and yelling might be a better response.

    In a built up urban area with copious areas to take cover, it might not be considered by law enforcement or a jury to be reasonable at 25 yards or even 15. However, the jury of the prairie case would probably have at least a few people aware of what a rifle can do at 100 yards while in an urban area, you may have a jury composed of folks that learned about guns from movie and tv with no personal experience. They will have different expectations.

    The unstated premise is that whether or not YOU feel that there is a lethal threat to your existence, law enforcement and a jury might feel quite differently based on an objective review of all the factors involved in the use of lethal force. Another unstated premise is that human life, even of scum attacking you, is valuable, and if you can avoid using lethal force by means of retreat to safety then one should do so even if the black letter law in your state indicates you can "stand your ground" or your "home is your castle".

    Stand your ground laws and court rulings were made so that a jury would not overlook the requirement of being able to retreat in complete safety which is difficult when the person has a firearm capable of firing great distances or like Zimmerman on his back with T. Martin whaling on him. As many have pointed out during the trial of Zimmerman, stand your ground law does not apply when you literally cannot retreat while being pinned to the ground by an attacker.

    The Castle doctrine similarly came about because retreat in one's own home can be very difficult from an attacker, there is a trespass by the offender, and that normal people do not always make rational decisions during an expected assault. Nevertheless, treating your home as a literal castle does not mean things like firing through the door at a perceived threat cannot be considered by a jury as unreasonable use of force as a Detroit guy found out among others or using booby traps. The proper response to a drive by shooting is not to imagine your house as Fort Apache and spraying the street with suppressive fire.

    And so it goes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
  16. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    That is an evil picture but funny. Very funny. LOL.
     
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  17. film495

    film495 Member

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    Practicing at that distance is not just about defending yourself. You have the right to defend others, your family, members of the public - you have a right and some might say a moral obligation, but that is debatable. So, if you see someone opening up and taking out a crowd, or your family, say in a public place, and you are 75 feet or 200 feet away, I'm pretty sure you have the right to actively stop them as a matter of self defense.
     
  18. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    A person who shoots someone else has some explaining to do regardless of distance. That's why they are called investigations.

    If the circumstances were clear and the actions found to be justified that is pretty well the end of the matter.

    If the circumstances are murky then the matter becomes more difficult.

    Distance from the shooter to the person being shot at really only comes into the matter when determining how much of an imminent threat the person who was shot posed to the person doing the shooting or someone they were trying to protect. Seventy five feet isn't all that much distance, especially if the other person has a firearm and has demonstrated their intent to use it against the person who shot them. Or if they are holding a knife and charging at someone. Or if they...
     
  19. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    I think some people fail to consider that there are others who don't live in urban areas, where cover is abundant. And it's hard for them to imagine being in a situation where something to hide behind is 100 yards or more away.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
  20. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    But now you are being judgmental and assuming that a Hi Point is not accurate enough to hit you at 50 yards.:) (just kidding)
     
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  21. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    It can have everything to do with it, if the assailant is, or is reasonably thought to be, armed with a contact weapon.
     
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  22. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think anyone in this thread has claimed that it's a definitive or conclusive factor, but it can be included as a factor to be considered in determining an SD Shooter's reasonableness of belief, or of whether the threat was imminent.

    And I'll be so bold as to say I have a pretty good comprehension of the law.
     
  23. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Practicing at longer distances is also more about practice to maintain and improve basic skills than preparing for an engagement at those distances.
     
  24. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Hmmmm. That is not how I read the OP's title, claims, or query. There are people who will tell you that X distance is not legal for self defense, which implies fairly explicitly that it is a definitive or conclusive factor of legality. In fact, my reply directly addressed the issue of the legal distance standard of 75' query by the OP.

    True, distance may be a factor, but is not a stipulated standard, such as the 75' specified by the OP. As a factor, distance is taken into consideration relative to other factors. As you noted, the issue is more with whether or not the threat is imminent, right? Of course, imminent to what party? Shot distance does not necessarily correspond with threat distance when defense of others also comes into play.
     
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  25. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Member

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    Distance is just one of many factors. Fact is that a 75' distance is pretty arbitrary. You can research all you want and you will be very hard pressed to find two cases that are exactly alike. This is why there are no hard fast rules with regard to such issues. These cases are considered on a case by case basis. Also, be aware that it isn't just a matter of YOU feeling that you are in danger of being on the catching end of an imminent harm, but whether a reasonable person would have felt that they were in danger of receiving an imminent harm that would result in death or great bodily injury.

    If a guy is standing 75' away from you with a bat telling you that he's gonna beat your butt, that's a start. So he closes the distance to 50', then 25'; at what point will a reasonable person feel that threat of an imminent harm that will likely result in death or great bodily harm? There is no rule and it's a question of fact to be decided by a jury.
     
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