Some of my visitors have asked me to explain the circumstances were deadly force may be used in self-defense or the defense of a third person. I will keep this very simple.
In every state, laws allow deadly force to stop violent felonies in progress. That’s murder, manslaughter, robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault, residential burglary, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and arson. There are others that vary somewhat from state to state.
In your own home or place of business there are certain legal and credible presumptions in your favor that you won’t enjoy on a public street.
If you are attacked by someone with a weapon or multiple attackers (even if they are unarmed) you may use any weapon to halt the assault. The same is true if your attacker is unarmed but there is an obvious disparity in size or strength and a reasonable person would believe this assailant could inflict permanent injury or death upon you.
The use of force must end the moment the attackers cease, surrender or flee. You do not shoot to warn, wound or kill. You only shoot to stop the crime. Use the best police style ammunition available. The police use hollow point bullets for the solid reason of public safety. Those bullets are less likely to injure bystanders because a ricochet. In court you can always make that point if needed.
Unlike in the movies you need not first threaten to use deadly force or order your attackers to drop their weapons. That may be much too dangerous anyway. You may simply draw a gun and begin firing until the threat is over. Sometimes your attacker may have quick reflexes and turn around sharply as a protective measure as he takes a bullet in the back. Things like that happen.
Those few states with unconstitutional laws against possessing or carrying arms cannot simply turn your justifiable self-defense act into a crime over some gun ban. They may however try to violate your Civil Rights to keep and bear arms by prosecuting you for a weapons offense with a somewhat small penalty. After the Heller and McDonald cases from our Supreme Court, that won’t be easy for prosecutors.
Avoid conflicts, don’t use more force than necessary and with any luck you won’t have to experience this kind of mayhem. If violence comes your way you must fight fiercely, decisively and for keeps. Hesitation may cost your life or that of someone you love.
As I have said before if you use such force especially away from your home you should collect all weapons and quickly flee to avoid conflict with the accomplices of anyone you’ve injured or killed. They may be out of your sight, but close enough to confront and kill you if you hang around. Taking the weapons from the scene is necessary for both yours and the public’s safety.
Do not call or talk to police. Words like, “I just shot a carjacker!” on a 911 recording may well incriminate you and be used as a confession. The absolute worst thing you can do is lie to police. That won’t be a problem since you will say no more to police than, “I want a lawyer.”
Take the collected weapon/s to a criminal lawyer and ask him to turn them over to police. I don’t know a single criminal lawyer that would let you say anything at all to police anyway. The lawyer can tell police whatever he wants and he cannot and will not tell police what you’ve told him. The lawyer may tell police that his anonymous client was a victim of a violent crime and used self-defense.
Your lawyer will tell police that the gun, knife, club, or whatever belongs to the dead or injured criminal/s. The police will impound the weapon for examination by the crime laboratory and later evidentiary purposes. They may be able to recover DNA from the weapons or somehow trace it to your attackers. Fingerprints are almost never recovered from handguns.
Don’t expect to be allowed by your lawyer to tell anyone, including family members about this incident. The first and only time you should tell your story is to a criminal court jury deciding if your actions were justifiable as you claim.
Avoid all publicity. The media will no matter what either make a hero or a vigilante killer out of you. If the person/s you shot survive they can be counted on to claim they were only asking you for a ride not committing a carjacking. Your assailants will claim it was you that planted any weapons that you’ve recovered.
There will only be a swearing contest about the facts in court if the person/s you shoot survive to testify against you.