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The Current State of Stand Your Ground
An Interview with Attorney Jim Fleming
Interview by Gila Hayes
In the 15+ years since Florida attracted so much attention for passing legislation that removed the requirement to attempt escape in the face of lethal attack, the arguments for and against, and subsequent changes to state laws, have continued to evolve. With several states presently addressing this aspect of use of force law, we recently spoke with our Advisory Board member, lawman-turned-attorney, and instructor Jim Fleming about what “Stand Your Ground” really means and how it affects the legal aftermath of use of force in self defense.
eJournal: Jim, I was taught that deadly force laws are considered “mature” or “settled” and not subject to much change. Now, with all I’ve been reading about new legislation from various states, I’m not sure that applies to laws that do or do not require an armed citizen to retreat before using deadly force in self defense.
For example, recently Ohio eliminated their duty to retreat, lawmakers in Arkansas passed a stand your ground law, the legislature discussed it in Hawaii, New Hampshire expanded their stand your ground law, North Dakota lawmakers sent a stand your ground law to their governor who signed it, Florida and Georgia debated repealing or changing theirs and something of which you’ll be very well aware, if I’m correctly informed, Minnesota debated the pros and cons of modifying its duty to retreat a couple of months ago, too.
When laypersons discuss stand your ground laws, it quickly becomes apparent that there is some overlap in stand your ground and the castle doctrine and sometimes people use the two terms as though they were synonymous. Can we compare and contrast the two concepts to start our readers off with accurate definitions?
Fleming: Simply stated, the castle doctrine states that a person has no duty to retreat before using deadly force in self defense, IF they are inside their own dwelling. This is based upon the common law concept that a person’s home is their “castle.” This obviously goes hand in hand with the legal requirement that a person has a duty to retreat before using deadly force if they are outside their home. Pretty simple, but that is not where the matter ends.
First, the duty of retreat in the public venue is conditional. You are only required to retreat if you can do so safely. You are not required to put yourself at risk by retreating.
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
My head hurts. Please allow me to explain.
The other day, I was perusing that great source of gun-related knowledge, FaceBook. I came across a post on a 10mm Fan page, that asked this question (this is quoted verbatim with no attempt to fix the typos or grammar or inlude the multiple emoticons):
“I love my 10mm...but.....i dont think it would be a good idea to end up in court after a self defence shooting ...and try to explan why you carry such i devistating. Load....your thoughts?”
I thought to myself, “This will be interesting” but OMG! I have selected just a few of them for your reading pleasure…
Attorney Question of the Month
The intent of this column is to increase understanding of the legal defense of legitimate use of force in self defense, sometimes by discussing the laws in force in the various states, other times in discussions of broader topics, like the interplay between actions and attitudes taught to armed citizens in firearms training and interaction with the legal system after using those skills in self defense.
This month’s question, posed by Network President Marty Hayes, asked our affiliate attorneys about murder charges after a self-defense shooting.
by John Murray, IT Director
One of the Network’s major missions is education! This is precisely why our Network eJournal is available to the public, and not just members. We strongly encourage you to share this information. Browse to https://armedcitizensnetwork.org then select Journal from the red menu bar across the top of the web page and share.
The more observant of you may have noticed some significant enhancements, mainly in our website’s search capabilities.
The Snubby Revolver
The ECQ, Backup, and Concealed Carry Standard
By Ed Lovette
Published by Snub Noir LLC
$29.95 206 pages, third edition
Reviewed by Gila Hayes
This month, I read the third edition of one of the first books we reviewed in this journal, Ed Lovette’s The Snubby Revolver . This edition expands on topics that came up in a great interview Lovette gave us in the April 2019 eJournal. That interview addressed threat avoidance, while the book’s title suggests revolver instruction, but in reality, the book is much, much more.
Is This Doomsday?
by Gila Hayes
Remember when spring warming suggested impending hot days with beach trips or light-hearted splashing in the city water park, the simple task of tending flowers in a planter on the sidewalk and other life-affirming pleasures? Now, with the cold of winter receding, I caught myself thinking that the smaller or briefer protests during winter’s dark and cold will blossom with renewed vigor during summer’s warmth and long days.
I was raised with the belief that Biblical prophecies predicting the end of the world, preceded by persecution, destruction and torture would soon be our reality, so as an adult I actively control my tendency toward fearfully anticipating apocalyptic breakdown. To that end, I’ve recently been reading about psychological health during periods of social unrest.
About this Journal
The eJournal of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc. is published monthly on the Network’s website at http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/our-journal. Content is copyrighted by the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, Inc.
Do not mistake information presented in this online publication for legal advice; it is not. The Network strives to assure that information published in this journal is both accurate and useful. Reader, it is your responsibility to consult your own attorney to receive professional assurance that this information and your interpretation or understanding of it is accurate, complete and appropriate with respect to your particular situation.
In addition, material presented in our opinion columns is entirely the opinion of the bylined author, and is intended to provoke thought and discussion among readers.