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Shoot - No Shoot

There's someone outside your front door. You don't know who they are or what they are doing. You hear strange noises. You grab your gun...

The other night I attended a seminar on when you can legally use deadly force. A police officer presented several scenarios.

First, the law. This is the law in Texas, so if you are reading this and you are in another state please consult your states law on deadly force. To paraphrase, you may use deadly force against another if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death.

So let's go back to our scenario. That someone outside your front door is taking the hubcaps off of your car. Can you legally open the door and shoot that person? I hope your answer is no. While Texas law allows you to use deadly force to protect property, you are still required to to meet the element of imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death. Merely messing with your car does not present you with an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death.

Now, lets change things up. Let's say that person who is taking the hubcaps off of your car stands up and starts coming at you with a crowbar in their hand in an aggressive manner. Like this...

You raise your gun and shoot him. Is that a good shoot? I hope you answered yes. You would be justified in using deadly force because you could articulate that there was an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death. This guy could certainly kill you or do serious bodily injury to you with that crowbar.

Now in this next scenario, I'm going to use me as an example. I'm 5'6" tall and 130 lbs. I'm out walking and I notice a man who is 6 feet tall and is built like a brick. In fact I notice him, not because he's a guy, but because of his build. I have a valid License to Carry. My gut instinct tells me to reach for my gun. I unzip my concealed carry purse and I put my hand on my gun. I don't pull it out (legally, you can't just pull your gun out on people that give you the heebie jeebies. Note heebie jeebies is not a legal term).

All of a sudden he starts walking toward me, pointing at me, and yelling. I have no idea who this person is, but I hear the words "Gonna get you," in his tirade. He starts running at me. I don't see that he has any weapons. I pull my gun and shoot him just 3 feet from me. Good shoot? Did you have to think about it because he was unarmed? Let's break it down...

In this situation, could I articulate that I was in fear of serious bodily injury or death? This person, whom I did not know is much bigger than me, his behavior was threatening, and when he started running at me I believed that if he reached me he could seriously injure or kill me.

I would argue good shoot.

Please note, that with each of these scenarios there will be a police investigation, and unfortunately I could still be sued civilly. But I'd rather be alive, so...

I hope these scenarios made you think about deadly force and what you would do given these examples. While it's not always fun to "what if" these types of things, it's necessary if you are a gun owner and/ or you hold a valid License to Carry. I encourage you to practice with your firearm. You are only as good as your training in a real life situation. And you will react at the level of your training, I can promise you...

Draw from the holster and concealed carry courses are available. Please visit to inquire about our upcoming courses.

**Disclaimer - I am not a lawyer and this should not be considered legal advice. You should seek appropriate counsel for your own situation or the Texas Department of Public Safety. And please note, this post is directed toward readers in the state of Texas.

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