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Thread: Self Defense

  1. #1
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    In Washington we had around 8 pages of laws describing legality of justifiable homicide. I am unable to find such law in Virginia. I was hoping to get a thread going on cases, laws, ideas about when one may use his handgun in Virginia. I get asked a bunch about this. My short answer is if I feel my life is in danger or my family. But, if at all possible I want to know/feel better about stopping the gas station guy with a knife from hurting someone. Thanks.

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    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    To my knowledge, IANAL, VA Code does not address Deadly Force.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    So, how does one know if he can use deadly force? Someone breaks into house and doesn't have a weapon? Protection of family? Only protection of self? Can I stop a robbery? Someone trying to kidnap my kids? How would one decide what is lawful. Does Virginia being a "Commonwealth" change anything with regards to law/amendments etc?

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    We rely on common law and case law in Virginia. It's not really written down in any one place. However see here http://www.virginia1774.org/

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    Well, after more reading, I'm sorry the law here is lacking clearly stated self defense laws. Very scary, not sure how you fight in court when you don't really have anything to back you up. But of course, I will always choose survive over not in whichever situation came up.

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    You can find clarifications in "The VA Gun Owners Guide" . Website for purchase gunlaws.com and some gun shops keep it for sale .

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    casullshooter wrote:
    You can find clarifications in "The VA Gun Owners Guide" . Website for purchase gunlaws.com and some gun shops keep it for sale .
    Also sold at the VCDL booth at the gun shows!

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    casullshooter wrote:
    You can find clarifications in "The VA Gun Owners Guide" . Website for purchase gunlaws.com and some gun shops keep it for sale .
    And VCDL sells them at their gun shows tables.
    ---

  9. #9
    Regular Member IanB's Avatar
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    In cases where you claim "self defense" the certain "conditions" must be met.

    From: http://www.useofforce.us/3aojp/

    Ability
    Opportunity
    Jeopardy
    Preclusion

    Read the link for details. Too long to post all info here. Enjoy.


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    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
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    Adam, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Self defense is self defense. Self defense would need to be proved in any circumstance. I'd say there are no 'clearly stated' laws on the books anywhere, regarding lethal force. Each circumstance will be different, each circumstance the prosecutor will need to determine if it was a justified use of deadly force. Fear for your life, shoot. Stealing your car stereo, don't shoot.

    .


    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

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    I wouldn't shoot for property, even if it was allowed. but if when I tell him to leave my house, and he came towards me instead of away, then its a different story. But yeah, I understand.

    I like washington state law. They pay all court costs, missed work wages, attorney fees if you kill someone in self defense. and they clearly define when you can. They have awsome clarity, there are a few more but these are the main ones. I wish Virginia added items similar for clarification.



    [/b]Homicide is also justifiable when committed either:

    (1) In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her husband, wife, parent, child, brother, or sister, or of any other person in his presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or

    (2) In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he is.




    [/b](1) Homicide or the use of deadly force is justifiable in the following cases:

    (a) When a public officer is acting in obedience to the judgment of a competent court; or

    (b) When necessarily used by a peace officer to overcome actual resistance to the execution of the legal process, mandate, or order of a court or officer, or in the discharge of a legal duty.

    (c) When necessarily used by a peace officer or person acting under the officer's command and in the officer's aid:

    (i) To arrest or apprehend a person who the officer reasonably believes has committed, has attempted to commit, is committing, or is attempting to commit a felony;

    (ii) To prevent the escape of a person from a federal or state correctional facility or in retaking a person who escapes from such a facility; or

    (iii) To prevent the escape of a person from a county or city jail or holding facility if the person has been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony; or

    (iv) To lawfully suppress a riot if the actor or another participant is armed with a deadly weapon.

    (2) In considering whether to use deadly force under subsection (1)(c) of this section, to arrest or apprehend any person for the commission of any crime, the peace officer must have probable cause to believe that the suspect, if not apprehended, poses a threat of serious physical harm to the officer or a threat of serious physical harm to others. Among the circumstances which may be considered by peace officers as a "threat of serious physical harm" are the following:

    (a) The suspect threatens a peace officer with a weapon or displays a weapon in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening; or

    (b) There is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed any crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm.

    Under these circumstances deadly force may also be used if necessary to prevent escape from the officer, where, if feasible, some warning is given.

    (3) A public officer or peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable pursuant to this section.

    (4) This section shall not be construed as:

    (a) Affecting the permissible use of force by a person acting under the authority of RCW
    9A.16.020 or 9A.16.050; or

    (b) Preventing a law enforcement agency from adopting standards pertaining to its use of deadly force that are more restrictive than this section.










    answer yes or no


    1.
    Was the finding of not guilty based upon self-defense?
    . . . . .


    2.
    If your answer to question 1 is no, do not answer the remaining question.



    3.
    If your answer to question 1 is yes, was the defendant:



    a.
    Protecting himself or herself?
    . . . . .


    b.
    Protecting his or her family?
    . . . . .


    c.
    Protecting his or her property?
    . . . . .


    d.
    Coming to the aid of another who was in imminent danger of a heinous crime?
    . . . . .


    e.
    Coming to the aid of another who was the victim of a heinous crime?
    . . . . .


    f.
    Engaged in criminal conduct substantially related to the events giving rise to the crime with which the defendant is charged?
    . . . . .

  12. #12
    Regular Member IanB's Avatar
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    I don't think you'll find anyone on here that doesn't agree VA's murky self defense laws need some attention. [hint hint]

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    VAopencarry wrote:
    Adam, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Self defense is self defense. Self defense would need to be proved in any circumstance. I'd say there are no 'clearly stated' laws on the books anywhere, regarding lethal force. Each circumstance will be different, each circumstance the prosecutor will need to determine if it was a justified use of deadly force. Fear for your life, shoot. Stealing your car stereo, don't shoot.

    .

    The critical thing to a self-defense plea (and this is brought out in the gun owner's guide) is that you are admitting to a shooting that in some circumstances could be called murder. Therefore, in the absence of clearly defined laws, you're having to jeopardize yourself in order to claim self-defense, and the gods alone know what a jury might decide.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

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    With most other gun friendly states passing laws defining "self defense" situations, such as in the case of a home invasion, standing your ground when approached, ect it is imperative that VA do the same. It puts those that follow the law in an uneasy position when defending themselves and no verifiable law that says your actions were legal.

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    adamwa

    Thanks for posting that. I wish Virginia had something outlined in such detail.

  16. #16
    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    Wooley wrote:
    Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6 Tess.
    Not arguing at all with this point. Simply reminding all of the other.
    Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. -Albert Einstein

  17. #17
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    I would love to try and help to get the laws pushed through to clarify it. but I only have a week left here.

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