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Deadly Force?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by PennsyPlinker, Jul 27, 2007.

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  1. PennsyPlinker

    PennsyPlinker Member

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    I would like to get an idea of what people here think is deadly force. Is it the mere display of a weapon, or is it actually using it? I already know what I think, so that is not an issue. But in one thread going on now, and in others, I see people equating the display of a gun with deadly force. Is this a legal definition, or is it simply something people have "extrapolated" from their own perceptions?
     
  2. lacoochee

    lacoochee Member

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    It really depends on your jurisdiction as to whether or not a drawn weapon constitutes deadly force, in Florida it does. So drawing your weapon as a "warning" is strictly verboten here, typically if you are drawing the weapon you should pull the trigger, at least that's the standard. Make sure you call the police first once it is done...or better yet be on with the 911 operator during, shouting stop, please, don't hurt me etc. for the inevitable trial.
     
  3. LarryS.

    LarryS. Member

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    I always thought it was the threat of deadly force......up until the bang!:confused:
     
  4. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    What is considered deadly force can vary by legal jurisdiction. Check your local laws. If in doubt talk to an attorney, specifically one that knows how the local DA thinks as that is who will be determining if you face charges or not for any thing you do. The time to learn about what the law says is before you run afoul of it, not after.
     
  5. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    Texas Law

    Sec. 9.01. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

    (3) "Deadly force" means force that is intended or known by the actor to cause, or in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing, death or serious bodily injury.
     
  6. phaed

    phaed Member

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    i don't see how just presenting a weapon could be considered force of any kind. it can be considered dangerous, though.

    for me personally, i'll never draw my weapon down on someone unless i'm going to shoot them. don't mess around with verbal commands, or chancing that just presenting your weapon will stop an attacker.
     
  7. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    Deadly force is defined as force which the user should know can cause serious bodily injury or death.

    Merely displaying a gun in PA is not deadly force.
     
  8. Mot45acp

    Mot45acp Member

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    If someone behaves in a matter where I fear for the lives of my children, I am not going to hope the sight of my CCW scares them off. If I'm scared enough to pull it, then, I'm scared enough to use it. I don't point at something I am not fully prepared to destroy.

    I hope and pray I can live my life without ever taking another (especially in front of kids).
     
  9. PennsyPlinker

    PennsyPlinker Member

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    But this is the whole point. If you decide to pull it, then do you have to use it? Is drawing the weapon the point of no return? Say you are being threatened and you are to the point where you decide you need to pull it and use it. As soon as your gun is produced, the bad guy backs down. Do you still shoot him? And did you use deadly force to stop him?

    I realize there is a legal component to this, and I am sure there will be those who squawk about brandishing. But if the confrontation ends with no one being shot, and no one getting a beating, that sounds like a good thing.
     
  10. Spreadfire Arms

    Spreadfire Arms Member

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    remember to think of other unconventional means of deadly force, for examplee:

    1. vehicle
    2. impact weapon to head

    i think you get the ida. the basic definition was posted above. the point i am trying to make is not to discount other means of achieving deadly force.
     
  11. PennsyPlinker

    PennsyPlinker Member

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    I do understand, and I am not trying to split hairs or anything. I guess I am trying to clarify where the division is between deadly force and the threat of it, and get an idea of what that threat can mean in terms of the outcome of the situation. I appreciate all the responses so far.
     
  12. sacp81170a

    sacp81170a Member

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    Let's not get "deadly force" confused with the "threat of deadly force". One exists in reality, the other exists in the mind of the person threatened. For instance, if I pull a loaded gun on you, that's deadly force. If I pull a plastic replica, that's obviously not deadly force, but it creates a credible threat of deadly force in your mind. Lots of things in the law are subjective, that is, they depend on the point of view of the person in the situation and not on an objective view in the "cold light" of hindsight.

    IANAL, but lots of things depend on the mythical "reasonably prudent individual". If a reasonably prudent individual would think of an act as a threat of deadly force, then he or she can act accordingly. The thing you have to remember is that you need to be able to articulate what made you believe there was a threat of deadly force clearly.

    If you threaten deadly force and are not justified, you are in for big trouble. Check the laws in your jurisdiction governing the use of deadly force for more information or better yet, consult a lawyer.
     
  13. thumbody

    thumbody Member

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    MY .02
    Drawing = threat of deadly force
    Shooting = Use of deadly force
     
  14. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    'plinker,

    Sorry, but what I think has no bearing at all in your state. What your state law says, and what the local interpretations of that law and local practices are, is what matters.

    What constitutes deadly force in Pennsylvania? That's a better question for you to be asking IMHO. There is information out there- like most legal information however, it should be VERIFIED with a person in your local jurisdiction who is in a position to KNOW what both LAW and PRACTICE is in your area.

    That said, there is a current thread on your state firearms owners' forum discussing deadly force. It might be worth your while to read- it's at http://www.pafoa.org/forum/question-answer-40/3553-use-deadly-force.html . One early post includes references to the state statutes and some personal comments- the references might help:

    Chapter 18 sections 505- Use of force to protect your self
    Link- http://members.aol.com/StatutesP8/18PA505.html

    506- Use of force to protect someone else
    Link- http://members.aol.com/StatutesP8/18PA506.html

    507- Use of force to protect property
    Link- http://members.aol.com/StatutesP8/18PA507.html

    In PA we are permited to use deadly force when we are in danger of death or seriouse bodily injury. seriouse bodily injury meaning close to death, loss of limbs, comma, extended hosspital stay type things that are far beyond a broken finger and what not. If such a thing happens in public u must attept to flee before using deadly force if possible, But if it would happen in your home or if you own a buisness and it would happen there you do not have to flee. we are also afforded the right to use deadly force in the act of fighting off a forcable sex crime or kidnaping.


    It can be a touchy issue depending on jurisdiction, you do well to ask about it- but you need to ask people who are in a position to give you good dependable information.

    hth,

    lpl/nc (IANAL in NC either)
     
  15. budney

    budney member

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    PennsyPlinker, threatening deadly force is not the same as using deadly force. However, generally speaking, the law forbids you to threaten deadly force or to use it, except in very specific circumstances. The rule of thumb is that if you aren't allowed to use it, you also aren't allowed to threaten it.

    That's why discussions of brandishing focus on whether deadly force would be justified. If it wouldn't be, then neither is brandishing, and the brandisher can be charged with aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon.

    There are exceptions to this rule of thumb, but they're best left to the lawyers.

    --Len.
     
  16. karz10

    karz10 Member

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    Well, here's the way I look at it.

    Just because you draw the weapon doesn't mean you have to 'use' it. But you shouldn't draw the weapon unless you are prepared to use it, think you need to use it, feel you are morally justified to use it, and preferably you also feel your are legally justified to use it.

    I think some people get confused by statements like if you draw it you better use it, because I think what some people mean by that is that you shouldn't draw your weapon unless you are capable and willing to use it, because if you draw your weapon with no intention to ever shoot someone, that's a pretty good way to get killed, because now you've elevated your perceived threat to your attacker, who will now potentially take even more aggressive and dangerous action towards you, either with their own weapons or with yours, so by drawing a weapon you don't intend to use, you're elevating your own risk.

    However, while you should be willing and capable of using any weapon you draw, that doesn't mean you have to use it to its full capacity. For example, where do you draw the line of 'using' it. In some cases you may only need to draw it, sometimes you may have to shoot it, sometimes you might have to empty the magazine, reload and repeat. Saying that you need to 'use' the weapon, i.e. shoot it, every time you draw it, is about as ridiculous as saying if you felt you had to draw the weapon, then you better 'use' everything you had on you, so if that means you have a 15 round magazine in the gun, and two spares, you better shoot all 45 rounds if you feel you 'had' to draw your weapon. There's no rule that says you have to shoot 1 bullet, let alone 45, just because you drew your weapon.

    Doesn't everyone say that you use the weapon to stop the threat, no more, no less, right? Like if you are under attack, you're supposed to take appropriate action (flee, take cover, draw, shoot, or some combination thereof) until the threat is stopped. If that means you have to put 10 rounds in a giant crackhead wearing body armor & armed w/ an ak 47, or 3 rounds in a burglar w/ a handgun and no body armor, 1 round that immobilizes and disarms another attacker, or by presenting the weapon to somoene who posed a previous threat to you and yours, that upon seeing the weapon decides himself to flee, in all of those cases, you 'stopped the threat' right?

    To me, it's a matter of whether you were justified to use deadly force, not whether or not you had to kill someone. If showing the weapon stops the deadly threat, shooting (but not killing) stops the threat, or killing the attacker stops the threat, it seems to me you are supposed to take the minimum amount of action that is necessary to stop the threat. Sometimes things happen so quickly, and you don't know the ultimate consequence of your actions, like one round may or may not stop them, 3 rounds may or may not stop them, depending on their position, your position, what they appear to armed with, how fast they're advancing on you, etc., these are all variables that will determine how fast you have to take action, and decide to stop taking action and reevaluate, w/ the err on the side of caution for you and yours. But at whatever rate you are able to defend yourself and evaluate the then current imposed threat to you, you should take reasonable efforts to stop the threat, and then stop taking action.

    So if you stop the one and only threat, and they are no longer armed or in a position to hurt you, then that's pretty much it, call the cops, hold them there, or get the hell out of there, as the case may be, whether that meant you only had to draw, shoot, or go ballistic, the threat was big enough to you and yours to warrant you begin the process to defend yourself, and the moment there is no longer a threat, you have accomplished your intended goal, regardless of how much 'force' was actually necessary to do so.

    As for the point in which you are morally justified to begin the process to defend yourself, and be prepared to take potentially deadly action, that's between you and your maker. Likewise that point where you're legally justified to do so, is in local, state, fed law, and you and your lawyer's interpretation of it. While you may want to pay attention to laws associated with brandishing, etc., at the end of the day, I think if you know when you're legally allowed to shoot someone, then in *most* cases you'd also be allowed to pull the weapon, but not *have* to shoot.

    Take an extreme example, clear cut, guy has a gun, says he's gonna kill you, points the gun at you, you pull a weapon and for whatever reason (maybe his gun isn't actually loaded and he knows he's up a creek), he runs around the corner before you get a shot off. You were under a deadly threat, you drew the weapon, but didn't have a chance to shoot because the threat ran away. What are you supposed to do, shoot some shots in the air now, or chase him around the corner and try to shoot him while he's fleeing? No, of course not, you stopped the threat without shooting at all. I don't see how any judge or jury could say that's not a reasonable action.

    The question becomes were you justified to use deadly force if you had to based on your laws in that area, not whether you had to actually fire or kill, etc. IMO (I am not a lawyer, and I refuse to use the acronym IANAL for obvious reasons...lol)

    Karz
     
  17. PennsyPlinker

    PennsyPlinker Member

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    Again, thanks for the responses guys. Lee, I know that this is a legal issue that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and from prosecutor to prosecutor. I am asking for what people here think mainly just to see, well, what people think. I have been in some convoluted threads here, and some very "interesting" thinking has surfaced from time to time. At one point one poster wrote,

    "If you pull your gun on someone who is threatening you, then he can pull his and legally shoot you because you threatened him!"

    I will check out those links.

    Len, I understand what you are writing, and I understand the difference. Again, I am trying to generate some discussion to see what goes on in the minds of some of the people here.

    To all: I did not post this question because I do not have an understanding of the use of deadly force. I posted it to see what the various perceptions are of people here. Everything written here in this thread so far has been good, and I have not seen some of the strange things that are often written in some of the other, more hotly debated threads. Maybe I wasn't provocative enough! :evil:
     
  18. Engel

    Engel member

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    If somebody pulls any weapon on me and I believe they have intent to use it then in my eyes that is deadly force.
     
  19. Scanr

    Scanr Member

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    Drawing the firearm does not mean you have to use it. If the attacker sees the firearm and turns and runs, you will have a hard time justifying a shot in the back.
     
  20. p35

    p35 Member

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    Well, Washington State will treat threatening someone with a gun as felony Assault 2, without actually firing it. Whether it gets charged that way depends on whether it was self defense or something else, and that's a call that's made on a case by case basis. Don't pull or point a gun unless you have a !@#$ good reason.
     
  21. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Member

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    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    General consensus is that you should not draw unless you have to shoot, or can shoot. That means, you don't threaten force unless such force is authorized. It is flawed logic to think that you need to employ any level of force that is threatened. The threat of force is usually enough to end an attack. I can't cite a source, but I remember reading that 95% of defenses with a firearm end without the firearm actually being fired.

    In your scenario, consider the situation where you have justifiably drawn your firearm, and the aggressor backs down. You asked if you now need to shoot the person. You are asking this because someone once told you, "Don't draw unless you are going to fire." and you misinterpreted the logic and translated it to "If you draw, you must fire.", but that is a logical fallacy.

    At the time of you drawing your firearm, you MUST have the WILL to fire it. The act of drawing the firearm may change the situation such that firing is no longer necessary, but that does not change the fact that at the point which you drew it, you felt it was necessary to fire.



    Bottom line: You should not ever draw your firearm in a defensive manner unless you are justified to shoot. If the threat retreats, you are no longer justified to shoot, so don't shoot. A threat retreating does not change the fact that you were justified to draw when you did.
     
  22. Greell

    Greell Member

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    Deadly force depends on your states definition of it....

    However to me, and to most people, it is the use of any force that is intended to kill.

    For instance, if I shot at you aiming at your head, and I miss----that is deadly force, because even though I didn't kill you, I was trying to, because that was my intention.
     
  23. PennsyPlinker

    PennsyPlinker Member

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    Have you been reading all I have written? I am not asking if I have to shoot someone if I have already drawn my gun. In fact, I have already been through that situation many years ago, so I have real life experience.

    Let me try to be perfectly clear on this: I already know that the law around here is what determines what is deadly force and what is the threat.

    I already know how I would act in a given situation.

    I already know, but seem to have forgotten, that there is always going to be someone, or a group of someones, who is going to misconstrue what I have written, making me regret I ever hit the post button. I am not trying to be rude or confrontational, but I cannot imagine that you read what I have written with any sense of the meaning behind my words. I know that is not always easy to convey with the written word alone, but you have taken my words to the extreme edge of something other than what I was asking.

    I started this thread to see what people think. Now I really regret asking. It seems that no matter how many times I explain myself, someone is going to misinterpret it and jump all over it. :( :banghead:
     
  24. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    I think most states will define deadly force to include something that can cause a deadly injury, whether it is used as such or only threatened. Think of it this way, if some guy holds a knife to a woman's throat in order to rape her, has he used deadly force to get his way? In most, if not all states, the answer would be yes, he used deadly force even though he only threatened it, not actually used it.

    PennsyPlinker, I hope I understood your question. I think most of the responses totally missed it. I didn't interpret your question as asking the age old question of "if I draw, do I have to shoot." But rather, is it "deadly force" to simply show a weapon, rather than to USE a weapon. My take on it is yes. According to the quote of Texas law, that is the case, and I imagine most states would be the same.

    If the forece is CAPABLE of causing death or serious bodily injury, then it is deadly force.
     
  25. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    I started this thread to see what people think. Now I really regret asking. It seems that no matter how many times I explain myself, someone is going to misinterpret it and jump all over it.


    'Plinker,

    Well, let that be a lesson to you as far as asking questions on the Internet that you already know the answer to 8^).

    What happens (a lot, it seems to me) is that people read the original post, then hit the REPLY button. Hey, no need to read, like, a WHOLE THREAD, you know? Just dash off a reply to whatever it seems to them was said in the OP and go on to the next thread. No need to read carefully and think about what was said or asked, no time for that.

    Sorry you're frustrated, but hey- this is the 'net. It's what we do here 8^).

    Regards,

    lpl/nc
     
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