The decision to use deadly force to protect yourself with a gun or other weapon is very subjective.
That’s why you hear about outrageous stories of honest, upstanding citizens being arrested even though they were defending themselves from an aggressive attacker.
The bottom line is that whether you feel your life is threatened to the degree you must take action – even to the point of using potentially deadly force – may be seen as “wrong” in the eyes of a jury, especially when explained by a prosecuting attorney in “legal mumbo jumbo”.
This is important because if you are not justified in using deadly force, such as in using a firearm to protect yourself or your family, you will have made a very serious legal mistake that could land you in prison for murder or manslaughter.
One of the most important legal arguments involving the use of force, and the legal mistakes gun owners make when involved in use-of-force altercations, involves something called “disparity of force”.
We talked with firearms expert, Peyton Quinn, about how disparity of force affected your deadly force decision-making strategies, and here’s what he had to say…
Legal Rules For Self Defense With Weapons:
“Disparity Of Force”
First of all, disparity of force means just what you think it does…
Let’s say there is more than one person, perhaps two or three assailants, all threatening to kick your butt.
Well two or three to one is disparity of force. It is force that isn’t equal.
You might be justified to introduce a “force multiplier” – a weapon – to protect your life because of this disparity.
Against someone whose force is roughly equal to your own, introducing a weapon could be seen as “escalating” the altercation (and therefore it is a legal mistake).
But when the force used against you is very unequal, or very “disparate,” you could be justified in using a weapon.
Legal Self-Defense Example Of Disparity Of Force…
A classic disparity of force is when a man is assaulting a woman.
The law is not entirely equal where that is concerned.
A woman can get away with self-defense acts that a man would have a hard time demonstrating were anything but legal mistakes.
That’s because the law, and especially juries, tend to see men as bigger and stronger and women, and thus an automatic disparity of force is assumed when a man attacks a woman or gets into any sort of physical altercation with her.
Even if it’s a one-on-one incident between two men, if the attacker is over six feet tall and built like Conan the Barbarian, and the defender is a 150-pound skinny fellow with asthma, that defender may be justified in using a potentially lethal weapon to defend himself.
A Common Legal Self-Defense Mistake You Must Avoid…
One of the most common mistakes made within your legal self-defense claim is the “fight challenge”.
The thing to remember is that if someone challenges you to a fight, like “Let’s take it outside right now!” and you accept it by walking into a fight, you have made a serious legal mistake.
You can’t later claim that you thought there was great disparity of force, so you used a knife or a gun to stop your attacker because you feared for your life.
The fact of accepting the challenge means that you clearly thought you had a chance of winning, which means you, yourself, did not see a disparity of force.
The Bottom Line On Legal Self-Defense…
Our legal system is not a “justice system”.
If you do not learn how it works when it comes to the rules of using lethal force, you will make legal mistakes that could land you in prison for the rest of your life.
You and your family deserve better, so if you own a gun, put in even more legal training than you do range training and you’ll be able to stick around after a deadly force confrontation rather than spending it in prison.