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CWP Holders: Do You Understand Your State’s ‘Sand Your Ground’ Laws?

December 24, 2012 1 comment

“Stand Your Ground” is a premise which reasons that when you’re in a place where you’re supposed to be and someone tries to attack you with deadly force or serious bodily harm, you have a right to defend yourself, with deadly force if needed, and without the need to extricate yourself from the situation.stand your ground gun stance

Also called the “Castle Doctrine,” this theory was part of the common law based on the old adage, “A man’s home is his castle,” and for those of you using concealed carry weapons, this concept is something you should fully understand.   

More than half of the states in the U. S. have some type of the Stand Your Ground statute, but what makes compliance with the rule difficult for concealed carry advocates is that the law varies widely from state to state.

 Some states have fewer limitations on the law, while other states place limits on the rule, regarding where, when, and who can use deadly force and on the extent of force allowed. The rule varies in how far it extends, as well. Some states include the “castle” to be a person’s car or his or her place of business or employment and to those who are under a person’s protection, such as guests in your home or clients in your office.

Also known as “Line in the Sand” or “No Duty to Retreat “ laws, there are some basic stipulations in all of the states, as Bruce N. Eimer, PhD. noted in his article, “Stand Your Ground” on USConcealedCarry.com. Eimer wrote:

 “… these laws stipulate that the victim (Person A), has no duty to abandon or flee from a place in which he [or she] legally has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant. … In summary, these criteria, or requirements, include:

  • Person A is not in the midst of the commission of a crime, and …
  • Person A has a legal right to be in the place where he is being attacked, and …
  • Person A has in no way started or provoked the confrontation, or instigated or escalated it, and …
  • Person B is confronting Person A in a manner such that Person A has reasonable grounds to believe that Person B is presenting an immediate and unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to Person A (or another person under Person A’s mantle of protection) as a result of person B’s actions, and …
  • Person B truly has the ability and immediate opportunity to carry out the grave or deadly threat he is presenting through his words and/or actions at that moment, and …
  • Person B is currently acting in a manner that puts Person A in immediate jeopardy of his life and limb, and …

In order to invoke a Castle Doctrine defense, a defendant’s onus is to provide evidence that proves the use of deadly or crippling force fit the situation; however, because the statutes vary widely from state to state, the Stand Your Ground defense may not always cover the situation. As a CWP holder, it’s very important that you review the Stand Your Ground laws not only in the state where you regularly carry your weapon, but also in states where you’re covered under those states’ reciprocity laws and plan to visit.

As Eimer also wrote:

“True freedom does not grant preferential treatment based on color, religion, gender, age, or political persuasion. It is moral, ethical, and law-abiding behavior that counts. Suspects are not defendants until charged with a crime, and defendants must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

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