The answer is “imminent danger.” The question is, “When can I use deadly force?” I’ve seen too many cases of “defensive shootings” in which the elements of imminent danger were not present. What’s scary is that too many people believe they can use deadly force any time. That’s not true! If the bad guy is running, there is no imminent danger. You cannot shoot people in the back! This is not the Wild West! In 2017, a man near Saint Louis was assaulted and robbed. As the bad guy ran away, the victim shot him in the back. This case has not reached court yet. However, I suspect the bad guy will be convicted of assault and robbery while the victim will be found guilty of unlawful use of a firearm.
As an instructor, I always emphasis the imminent danger requirement before the use of deadly force, then we talk about the ethics and morals of using deadly force. We are not mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually ready to take a life. We are not sociopaths or psycho. Someone must push us to the point where we break our ingrained resistance to the use of deadly force. I hear way too many people lauding the use of deadly force when it’s not justified by the legal definition. If you have never taken some form of training which teaches the definitions of imminent danger or use of force justifications, I encourage you to take a CCW (concealed carry weapons) course or other training that specifically covers those laws.
Also, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Missouri to be sure you know your rights should you ever be put in the position of having to defend your family, yourself, or your home.
The truth about using deadly force is that there are only two outcomes. Outcome number one, you’ve defended yourself within the legal limits of the law and after the investigation are released to go home. Outcome number two, your actions were outside of the legal limits of the law and you get to go to jail. Ignorance of the law will not work as a good legal defense!
Vance Ewing spent 22 years in the US Army and eight years as a NATO Counter-IED and Anti-Terrorism Instructor. Vance currently serves as a NRA Counselor and Trainer. Michael Ryen spent eight years in the US Army Reserves and currently serves as a NRA Trainer and recruiter. They are the owners of The Bow and Barrel Sportsmen Center located at 22940 Harlan Lane, Saint Robert, Missouri. www.bowandbarrelsports.com, 573-451-2129