It Depends

By Vance Ewing

My lawyer friends have a great answer for questions concerning the law:  “It depends.”  And I get where they are coming from.  When teaching a CCW class, someone always wants to change my scenarios or “what if” them.  Under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine and stand your ground law, the answer to the question of “Can I shoot?” is always going to be: “It depends.”  The law is very clear in that there must be “imminent danger to human life” as defined under Missouri Revised Statue Chapter 563, justifiable use of force.  The definition includes the use of deadly force to stop a bad guy from assaulting someone, assaulting someone with a weapon, attempting to murder, or attempting to rape someone.  Seems easy enough, right?  Here is where I write “WRONG” with a very loud pen!

The challenge with our legal system is that it always depends of the “what if’s.”  What if you are out in the middle of Missouri and someone is trying to steal your car at 1:00 a.m.?  You hear them and go out and try and stop them.  Your wife calls 911 and lets you know that “help” is on the way, in about thirty-five minutes.  You have your firearm; the two bad guys have a knife and crowbar.  Can you use deadly force to stop them from stealing your car?  Here is why you are going to need legal counsel.  Did you answer yes or no?  The right answer is “it depends.”  The law says you cannot use deadly force to prevent stealing.  You can only use deadly force if there is imminent danger.  In our scenario, was there imminent danger?  Again, “it depends.”  Our guy was not in imminent danger until he went outside to confront the bad guys.  An argument can be made that he put himself in imminent danger, thus not making his situation defensible.


Do you want to learn more about how to properly evaluate a situation? Attend the US LawShield Seminar on November 12th at 6:00 p.m. hosted by The Bow and Barrel Sportsmen Center. RSVP today and get your questions answered by real attorneys!

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., 573-451-2129

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