Libertas Media recently interviewed Michael Steck about a self defense shooting where the shooter had questionable justification. In this video podcast, Michael addressed themes from the common law on self-defense. Michael Steck is a Utah based attorney practicing in self-defense, 2nd amendment and all areas of firearm law. Just to recap, here are a few things from the program.
Generally speaking, the law states that you have to have three things to use any kind of force in a self-defense situation. First of all, the law states that you have to have a reasonable belief. A belief is reasonable if an objective observer would have felt the same fear based upon the facts of the situation. Secondly, the law generally requires that the use of force be necessary. This means that you must feel a need to protect your self against the threat. Thirdly, the law generally requires that the threat against you must be imminent. This means that you can’t be threatened on one day and then the next day that you see the person, you are then justified to shoot them.
From Black’s Law Dictionary, you get the following definition on Self-Defense:
The use of force to protect oneself, one’s family, one’s property from a real or threatened attach; Generally, a person is justified in using a reasonable amount of force in self-defense if he or she believes that the danger of bodily harm is imminent and that force is necessary to avoid this danger.
In terms of the reasonableness of the force used against the aggressor, there must be an equalization of the force. For instance, if an aggressor comes upon a victim with a closed fist punch, the victim may not shoot the aggressor for a single blow. The victim may the same amount of force as is necessary to terminate the unlawful attack. However, if the aggressor were to use deadly force, such as a knife, then the victim may use another means of deadly force to protect themselves (i.e. a gun). Some may focus on the fact that since a gun trumps a knife, it’s unfair for the victim to use the gun in self-defense. However, the law does not differentiate between the instruments of deadly force, it generally just says that deadly force is any weapon that is likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.
A big thank you to Libertas Media for interviewing Michael Steck about this self-defense issue.
This information is meant to be informative only. You should consult with an attorney in your state if you have specific questions about self-defense law and your situation. Michael Steck is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Utah and is available for a free consultation of your 2nd amendment, firearm or self-defense law case at 801-505-9202 or by using the contact us link on this page.