Fact vs Fiction of Castle Doctrine

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Massad Ayoob wrote an article over at Personal Defense World. He discuses some of the myths regarding Castle Doctrine and has some interesting examples that perhaps some of you may not have considered.

As it applies to the armed citizen, Castle Doctrine means that if you are attacked in your own home, you need not retreat, but may stand your ground and defend yourself with whatever force is necessary.
How many times have you heard someone say “I can shoot any stranger I find in my house, because Castle Doctrine says I can”? I try to educate them with what little I know and that they need to do more research just as much I need to learn more about the subject.
As Massad explains in some interesting examples, there are exceptions that people do not think about. Ignorance is not a defense for shooting someone you thought was a stranger and a possible danger to you. In one example a man in Florida hired a workman to repair some storm damage. In the early morning the homeowner saw the workman with something long over his shoulder. Thinking it was a long gun, he open fired and crippled the workman. Now the homeowner is paying out over the lawsuit.
I recently heard a guy tell me “If there is an intruder in my house I will know and I will shoot him”. I informed him you should really look more into castle doctrine. He waved the “I am sure God will have my back” retort. I replied “perhaps it is god telling me to tell you to educate yourself more on this”.

Another example Massad mentions highlights the crucial aspect to use of lethal force. You must be in immediate threat of bodily harm or death. If you are not in immediate danger, you cannot use lethal force.

Another man set a trap for burglars and caught two, a young couple. He shot and killed both the boy and the teen girl when neither was trying to harm him. He is now in prison, convicted of murder, and is probably going to die there.
What about giving out keys to family members? People coming home unexpectedly and you assume it is an intruder? That recent case with the  Va. Deputy last August. Daughter sneaked back in late at night. Her father assumed it was an intruder and without clearly identifying the intruder, he shot his own daughter. Luckily it was not a fatal shot and she lived. A very good case for having a light with or on your gun for home defense.
Another aspect of Castle Doctrine that Massad explains is that everyone in your household is under the same protection.That even extends to people you have invited into your home. Remember the Florida example earlier? Invited to his home and was in no immediate danger.
This example is very interesting.
Many years ago in Massachusetts, it was determined in Commonwealth v. Roberta Shaffer that a woman ordered to leave the home owned by her common-law husband or be killed was in the wrong when she returned, the man attacked her and she killed him with one of his own guns.
In his last example two roommates quarrel and one defends himself. Mutual castle doctrine cancels each other out. So the defendant was in his right to defend himself. However the issue of No Retreat comes into the situation and you need to know what the laws are regarding that. Massad mentions:
in a state that has a retreat requirement if one is attacked outside the home, always bear in mind that even in those states, retreat is never demanded by law, unless it can be accomplished in complete safety to oneself and others.

I learned a lot from reading his article but by no means does this modicum of information cover the depth of Castle Doctrine. Do yourself and others a favor. Learn. We all spend time at the range practicing our skills at manipulating firearms. We should spend some time learning what happens afterward.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Grindstone50k

    Most of those “castle doctrine” cases are people being absolute fvckwits. Shooting the repairman you hired? Setting a “trap” for burglars? These people were going to hurt somebody eventually just because they’re so damn stupid anyway.

    If you enter my home uninvited, you will be shot either by me or by my wife. Because of the operative word “uninvited”.

    • Tom Currie

      Of course they are “fvckwads” — that’s why Ayoob selected them for examples in his article. Using examples of rational people acting sensibly would be more useful but would be too complex to use in a couple of pages in a magazine.
      The other point that isn’t covered, and is almost universally misunderstood is that the Ain’t No Sech Thing As A “Castle Doctrine” that is a term used by lazy gun writers, RKBA activists, Anti-Gun activists, and the mass media to cover just about any sort of law about self-defense at home but especially one that abrogates a “duty to retreat.” Every state has different laws about self-defense. Many states have no explicit or implicit “duty to retreat” at all — which makes a special “Castle” exemption totally unnecessary. Even among the states that have adopted some form of “Castle Doctrine” in recent years, every state is different — even if the “Castle Doctrine” statute happened to be identical to another state, the actual impact would be different because the statute would be part of the overall body of state law and would be further colored by case law in that state.

      And, finally, regardless of what the state law actually says, the case will be brought (or not brought) according to local attitudes of both the police and prosecutors. If you live in an anti-gun city of a pro-gun state, watch out.

      • Bill

        Because reality is pretty boring compared to the spectacularly rare. In 30 years I’ve seen 1 “self-defense” case go to court when a guy shot his wife while firing rounds through the roof and walls of their home with an AK. He was a local dealer, high on meth, who though he heard voices on his roof. Another case, when a person shot a guy, in the back, as the perp was running away, after breaking into an unoccupied storage building on the shooters property, from at least 50 feet away, didn’t even go to the grand jury. If I did that as a cop I’d stand a good chance of winding up in federal prison.

        • Ethan

          “The Spectacularly rare”. I like that!

    • Jim_Macklin

      Uninvited AND a threat. Don’t shoot the gas company meter reader

      • followurownadvice

        Why would the gas company meter reader be in my house?

        • Ethan

          Stranger things have happened legitimately.
          Rule #4 – Always know your target.

        • Jim_Macklin

          They might be in your backyard and sometimes a meter can be inside and added screened in porch.
          Bottom line, never shoot anyone who is not a threat.

      • Grindstone50k

        Remote reading AND they notify us ahead of time. Plus they knock if they have to enter the residence.

        • Ethan

          Startling? Yes.
          Lethal Threat (universally justifying a lethal response)? No.

          There are a million unlikely, but thoroughly possible scenarios as to why someone could be in your house uninvited that you shouldn’t (read: will go to jail if you do) shoot.

          Drunk teen thinks she’s sneaking back into her parents house via a back window (it’s happened), a cop raiding the wrong house by mistake (it’s happened a lot), relative impulsively decides to surprise you with a visit (won’t he be so surprised), etc..

          Likely? No.
          But it is possible, which is why we have Rule #4: Know (positively identify) your target before you shoot, know what’s behind it and in front of it.

  • Don Ward

    I think there is a certain portion of the gun community that has a vast misunderstanding of how most shootings in self-defense – or otherwise – go down in the civilian world. This portion has been catered to by firearm manufacturers, magazines and Internet gun experts since this demographic also seems to have limitless disposable income.
    The reality is a little more confusing, a little more squalid and a little more human. If you think you are going to be “clearing” the rooms of your house and conducting multiple tactical reloads and transitioning to your secondary weapon system while fighting off an entire motorcycle gang, you might want to rethink matters.

    • Grindstone50k

      So much this. I’ve kept up on all local instances of DGUs and all of them had the same thread: From pump shotgun to tiny .380 subcompact, it was generally less than five rounds that stopped the attacker. By stopped I don’t mean “killed” I mean the attacker ceased attacking. One fellow, an elderly gentleman who admitted to having zero experience with guns including almost no practice with his own, shot an intruder only to have the gun jam immediately after the first shot. Fortunately that one shot was all it took. I’ve also got an instance of a single mother stopping two men from breaking into her home with one shot with a shotgun killing one man and sending the other running. No “click click” scare bullshit. And another with an 11 year old girl shooting a man stabbing her mother.

      Bottom line, none of these were “operators” clearing rooms and all that crap. The reality of the vast majority of DGUs are not going to go as planned, period.

      But people just like to fantasize I guess.

      • Do you know how hard it is to justify a new gun to my wife? Fear sells it.

        • gbrowerjr

          Haha..I use this technique myself. That new 12 gauge is for your protection if I’m not here baby!

    • Ethan

      Agreed for the most part, but I would point out that the guys training for multiple reloads etc are not really training for an armed burgalary. They’re doing there part to maintain the “well regulated militia”, though some may not call it that.

      • Bill

        The day of ringing the church bell and assembling with musket and full powder horn are over. If a person wants to be part of today’s militia they need to be backing up their computers and not opening strange emails. The “militia” of 2015 is a far cry from the “militia” of 1715. I’d also like to know what “regulatory” structure that are operating under. While I think it would be cool for the government to issue every resident an M4, a thousand rounds of ammo and two weeks training, many communities have a hard time keeping a volunteer fire department operating at full staff.

        • Ethan

          I think you are confusing “Militia” with “Military”. The American Militia is composed of every willing man (and woman) of fighting age who is able to provide their own arms and willing to take them up in defense of their country. Government subsidization and oversight are simply not a part of that.

          “The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.” -Daniel J. Schultz

          • Bill

            Perspective dependent. The days of the Wolverines fighting the Warsaw Pact are over, if they ever existed. If you want to defend your country nowadays, you need a knowledge of technological defense that will block cell phone detonators and cyber attacks such as Sony suffered. If on the other hand you feel the need to defend against FEMA trailer camps based on the bar code inventory and location labels on traffic signs, that’s a whole different issue, and one our local “militia” members seem far more worried about.

            Note this section of the Schultz quote: ” remained so for a century thereafter.” Times and circumstances change.

          • Ethan

            Times change, but the Constitution does not. It cannot be reinterpreted to be more politically correct or to fit one’s perspective.

            http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/311

          • Bill

            Actually your link is to the US Code that defines what a militia is. That’s statutory law enacted by the Legislative Branch, and if you check the notes you’ll see that it’s been changed several times, as late as 1993.

            I don’t think that passing a Constitutional Amendment has ever been “convenient,” or that things like the abolishment of slavery or suffrage would count as “political correctness.” They are called Amendments because they represent changes and additions to the Constitution itself. That’s the problem with strict constructionism: it promotes the fallacy that the Constitution doesn’t change, when the Amendments and the the establishment of the SCOTUS are obvious examples that the Founders had no intention of it being inflexible and unchanging

          • Ethan

            I’m glad we agree. Laws change, Judges change, but the only way to change the Constitution itself is by amendment. It is the supreme law of the land, and no lesser power can alter it save through the duly prescribed process.

          • Sualco

            Unless and I think Obama is counting on this an international treaty. Signed by POUS and confirmed by the Congress, it becomes law of the land and if I remember my college Int. Law class if in conflict with the Constitution the Int law wins. Much to our damage I think in this age and time.

          • Jim_Macklin

            The military power of the United States rested with the United States Navy since defending against an invasion by sailing shipswas seen as the biggest threat. The US Army was small the State militias would be called to reinforce the Army’s manpower needs. This worked fine until the Spanish-American War when it was discovered that the Illinois militia could not be sent to Cuba. That war was fought by regular Army, Marines and volunteers such as Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.
            In 1903 Congress created the National Guard as part of the regular Army and Naval forces. The militia remained, untouched and often ignored by Governors.
            But the militia has been always there despite many states lack of support. The National Guard is supported, it is what the founders feared, an organized militia, with uniforms and rank.
            The Founders wanted an unorganized militia, shopkeepers, farmers, mechanics and plumbers to have the power to maintain the Constitution.

            IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

            The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

            When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
            people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with
            another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and
            equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle
            them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they
            should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

            We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
            equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
            Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
            Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted
            among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
            –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these
            ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
            institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and
            organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to
            effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that
            Governments long established should not be changed for light and
            transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that
            mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to
            right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
            But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the
            same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism,
            it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and
            to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the
            patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity
            which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The
            history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated
            injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment
            of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be
            submitted to a candid world….”

            Look to Cuba, a Nation where the common man cannot form a militia. I’m sure that some think the USA should follow Cuba. WE might still have elections, Cuba still has elections and Castro always wins.

          • gbrowerjr

            Idk…depending on who the majority on the supreme court belongs to interpretations of the constitution can vary. I’m willing to wager that if Obama was to pick 2 justices right now the interpretation of the 2nd amendment would change. Along with several others.

          • Ethan

            They can try to make it appear that way, but the supreme court cannot change the Constitution. If their ruling is in conflict with the plain meaning of the Constitution it is invalid, and not binding.

            The founders deliberately made the Constitution to be enforced by the common man. At the point in which doublespeak is employed to “interpret” it’s meaning as contrary to what it plainly says, that action is invalid, and the common man is free to reject it.

          • Jim_Macklin

            Thereis no doubt about that, which is why we are so happy the Republican took control of the Senate.
            But IF the government changed, if Obama got one or two more Justices on the Court and they tried to nullify the Second or any other amendment in the Bill of Rights, a plain reading of the United States history would indicate that at a minimum, massive civil disobedience and possibly even armed resistance to the government trying to repeal a right that was only guaranteed by te Constitution and not created by the Constitution.
            Really, everone should read the Declaration of Independence every December and July.

          • Grindstone50k

            You are half correct. But force of arms still exists in the 21st century.

          • Jim_Macklin

            The meaning of words change, new things are invented and new words describe those new things. But the old things continue and the courts go back to the history books to see what was intended.
            The whole “militia” argument stems from a Kansas Supreme Court case in 1905. For those who do not know, the KS Supreme Court is highly political and you can predict with near 100% certainty how they will rule if you keep in mind which governor appointed the judge.
            In 1939, when every type of modern firearm existed the US Supreme Court defined the militia and the type of arms that were encompassed. In 2008 the Court expanded that to include the individual and their handgun.

        • gbrowerjr

          It’s “well regulated” not “operating under regulatory body” quite a few argue that “well regulated” means well equipped. others will argue that “militia” and “people” are two different groups being guaranteed the right.

          • Bill

            You HAVE to have a regulatory body in order to run ANY military organization, that’s the basic principle behind chain of command and civilian oversight of the military. If everyone decides to form their own private armies, we just went backwards in history about 15 centuries. The Constitution is vague at best when it comes to the authority and scope of the “militia,” but I’m confident they didn’t have the Liberian warlord model of the 1990s in mind.

          • Ethan

            The entire distinction between the words militia and military is precisely that.

            To say that the militia is controlled by the government is to say that “Military” and “Militia” are synonymous, which they are not.

            With all due respect sir, you seem to have some very cynical and extreme ideas about what the militia is.

          • Bill

            Cynical yes, extreme, no. It seems like the only people who want to have oversight of the “militia” are the people who claim to be members. And they conveniently don’t seem to have a “militia” edition of the UCMJ.

          • Ethan

            Please lookup “militia” in the Websters dictionary or in the link I provided above. I cannot change your opinion, I can only show you what is written in U.S. Code and the English language.

    • Jim_Macklin

      There is a portion of the entertainment industry [ Hollywood has far more money than all the gun makers combined ] that feeds the public DEATH WISH, DIE HARD, DIRTY HARRY and similar propaganda [ To be fair, the first DEATH WISH movie was excellent and almost believable.]

      If you actually read the gun magazines and NRA publications, it is very clear that a home owner who shoots one or more home invaders should not expect pats on the back and cheering crowds. Massad Ayoob writes in many magazines and is very straight forward, expect to be arrested.

      A Google search for Massad Ayoob will return several hundred thousand “hits” covering everything from attic to Zimmerman.
      Nowhere will you find any “gun writer” who glorifies self-defense, it is just better than being raped and murdered.

  • Grindstone50k

    I’ve never heard anyone say that, but it sure sounds like Fudd bullshit to me.

    • Pete Sheppard

      Stephen, Grindstone50K, Mas Ayoob has written of numerous court cases where opposing attorneys used such modifications to make the defendant look like an aggressive maniac to ignorant juries.

      • Grindstone50k

        What brought the cases to court? In nearly every DGU in my area, none were charged.

        • Bill

          Likewise, including a couple cases that were really iffy, the prosecutor and grand jury never pushed charges. For all the defensive uses of firearms, some writers will cherry-pick a small number that either went badly wrong in court, or were just bad shootings. A handful of cases doesn’t make them the norm.

          I’m particularly amused by the claim that the model name of a gun will somehow make a user look more evil. I’ve never heard of someone being blamed for causing a wreck because they were driving a Cougar or Avenger or Challenger or Charger

          • Grindstone50k

            The idea that night sights will hamper your case sounds about as likely as the aforementioned motorcycle gang attack.

        • Grindstone50k

          I should amend my statement somewhat. I do have a perfect example of what NOT do to in a DGU. A local pharmacist had two teens come in and try to rob him. He opened fire, knocking one down and the other ran. He *chased after the second*. When he lost him he returned, walked *right by the other laying on the ground bleeding from the head* got a *second gun* walked back and *shot the kid in the head on the ground*.

          Of course he was convicted of murder.

        • Pete Sheppard

          Many of them were civil cases, brought by the shootee and/or the shootee’s family. Even if acquitted in a criminal court, one can still be sued in civil court. 🙁

          • Grindstone50k

            Understandable, but that is not the same as criminal court, which is what the original comment was referring to. Additionally, what is the statistical likelihood that you would be sued (successfully) for shooting a home invader? Locally I’ve not heard of any such cases in the last 5 years.

      • Ethan

        True, but they’re going to do that anyways. Believe me, I just watched a family member go through a criminal trial (not shooting related) earlier this year.

        There is literally No. Person. In. This. World. who is going to look good once a prosecuting attorney with half a brain gets through with them. Its their job, they make their living doing it, and they will do it with or without your help. Nothing you do is going to make the PA go easy on you.

        Don’t be stupid, but you can’t live in fear.

        If you live in fear, you’ve lost your freedom before the fight for it even began. If you want to increase your chances in a future (hypothetical) court case, start putting aside money in a special fund for a better lawyer. Because in the end that’s all that matters.

      • Ethan

        True, but they’re going to do that anyways. Believe me, I just watched a family member go through a criminal trial (not shooting related) earlier this year.

        There is literally No. Person. In. This. World. who is going to look good once a prosecuting attorney with half a brain cell gets through with them. Its their job, they make their living doing it, and they will do it with or without your help. Nothing you do is going to make the PA go easy on you.

        Don’t be stupid, but you can’t live in fear.

        If you live in fear, you’ve lost your freedom before the fight for it even began. If you want to increase your chances in a future (hypothetical) court case, start putting aside money in a special fund for a better lawyer. Because in the end that’s all that matters.

        • Pete Sheppard

          Ethan, that’s a good post, and I agree! While we should not live in fear, we shouldn’t make the other side’s job any easier. If you do modify his defensive gun, be sure you can explain how the mod makes the gun safer to use!

  • mosinman

    there is a lot of misconception about home defence but i do think thieves should be shot if they’re caught in your home

    • Nicholas Chen

      Good luck with that. You may want to live in Texas.

      • Grindstone50k

        Even California has a decent Castle law: “Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.”

    • whskee

      Like they tell us in the service, every bullet has a lawyer attached, and now it’s really two. One is criminal, and the other is civil when the family claims wrongful death as they all seem to do now. You had better be able to 100% explain rationally why you felt a life-threatening need to shoot said thieves.

      • mosinman

        Thankfully it’s never come down to that and hopefully it never will. I do understand that people have been jailed for the crazy concept of protecting life and property. And chasing someone outside of your home is out of the question too, but it seems dangerous enough having intruders in your home and if you try to stop them they may be armed in some fashion (they could have thier own gun) which might cut down what little time you have left to make a choice once you ID them as intruders. Either way securing the home by locking doors and windows, having a guard dog and making the home look occupied are the best defense.

        • whskee

          Heck, in my neck of VA there has been a slew of broad daylight home invasions regardless of the owners being home over the last year. Typically it’s 2-3 guys, armed, who either try to get the owner to answer and then force entry, or just outright kick the door in no notice. Some of them have even gone as far as yelling police as they do so. It’s not a good situation for anyone, but if that wouldn’t qualify for immediate lethal force I don’t know what would. The worst thing about it is they’ve had speed and surprise on their side and the reaction time window is extremely short.

          My neighborhoods been pretty decent unlike the apartments, but I’ve seriously considered something like the ‘Door Devil’ for while I’m away and the girlfriend is home alone, just to open up some time if someone does try to kick in the door.

          • mosinman

            yeah, that sounds nasty, haven’t heard of anything like that in SC yet, but if someone is in my house that isn’t supposed to be there i have to assume the worst. having a large aggressive dog can buy you a few seconds to defend yourself

  • Pete in Alaska

    Information expands wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, in short …….. Information is Power. The more you know the more empowered you are.
    Yes, the “Castel” doctrines do allow one to protect themselves, family, home and possessions.
    However, it is the responsibility of the protector of the “Castel” to know and understand the perticular quirks, language, and interpretation of their specific and local “Castel” law. How it applies to them, how they may apply it, and, if applied, what they may expect in response from their local Law Enforcement, Courts and Goverment.
    It’s just that simple. Which makes it very complicated law and issue indeed.

  • Ethan

    For the love of… RULE #4 PEOPLE! You do not put your finger on the trigger until you KNOW YOUR TARGET! I’m sorry its just that stories of people shooting their family members by surprise absolutely incense me. So… stinking… avoidable.

    Use a flashlight, turn on the lights, or you can’t shoot. That means keeping a flashlight near your weapon, or an alternative solution; but you simply can’t shoot at something because its unknown and scary.

    You do not have a right to shoot because you are scared. You have a right to shoot because you have identified a legitimate threat to your life. A bump in the night is not a legitimate threat.

    If you don’t know, you can’t shoot. Period.

    • Havok

      Who do you think you are to bring a logical statement such as this to the INTERWEBZ!

  • Jim_Macklin

    Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground are not the same thing and they vary from one state to another. It really is a statutory requirement that the police and DA have to begin an investigation based on the claimed innocence of the person who has used deadly force. But if the physical evidence does not support your claim of self-defense you will still be charged.
    As the trial of George Zimmerman showed, even despite the protections in Florida law, when the politics of the use of force you can expect that a trial will be conducted in violation of the state law. 776.032

    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil
    action for justifiable use of force.—

     (1)A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012,
    s. 776.013,
    or s. 776.031
    is justified in using such force and is
    immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force,
    unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as
    defined in s. 943.10(14),
    who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer
    identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the
    person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a
    law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting,
    detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

     (2)A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures
    for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using
    force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was
    used was unlawful.

     (3)The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court
    costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the
    defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court
    finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection
    (1).

    History.—s.
    4, ch. 2005-27.

  • Blue Centurion

    Here’s a secret……KNOW your State’s interpretation of the law. They are NOT the same. Mr. Ayoob has been around a long time but he does not know the specificity of each and every State’s interpretation.

    • Jim_Macklin

      When he goes someplace, he can do a short study and know the particular State law and court cases.

  • Limonata

    The final point should be, “know your state laws”.
    I like Andrew F. Bianca’s book “The Law of Self Defense” – His website also sells books dedicated to a particular state. In the end, precedent of prosecution is set in your state by prior cases.
    I have also taken classes within my state held by local attorneys in the practice of self defense law who have gone over point by point specific cases and scenarios specific to my state.
    It is very important to understand your states laws- this why you have to be careful of internet stories or posts, because they may not apply to you.

  • dan citizen

    YOU. MUST. IDENTIFY. YOUR. TARGET.

    I caught a burglar in my house once. I lived in a fairly remote out of season resort area. Being gun dealer hearing a person in my house in the wee hours brought fears of gun seeking intruders. I armed myself and crept up on the person.

    When I ordered them to stay still and flicked on the kitchen light the 15 year old girl turned around suddenly and peed her pants.

    She was a inner city girl many a mile from that city. Dumped mid-elope by her boyfriend when she wouldn’t put out, she had found what she thought was an empty vacation residence. When I surprised her she assumed she was about to experience death-by-redneck. She was a good girl with a bad boyfriend and after a phone call I put her on a bus back to her family.

    Why didn’t I shoot? Because I could not identify the target and there was no confirmed threat. Imagine if I was trigger happy.

    • Ethan

      THANK YOU!!

  • Grindstone50k

    Key word “accidentally shot someone”. A lighter trigger WOULD be a point against him in that regard. Still, that is not a home defense scenario and does not apply.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    While there are so many subtleties and variations to be aware of when interpreting the “Castle Doctrine”, it was a good move to publish this article when you did — thank you, Nicholas, and also thanks to Massad Ayoob for his input.

    Judging by the many well-written and thoughtful responses from other readers here on TFB, it looks as if your advice has been taken quite seriously ( as it should ).

  • Gmansaid

    Personally, I cannot understand using deadly force trying to defend your home at night without first identifying exactly what/whom it is that poses such a threat. Get a light! See what you are shooting! -Thinking about that Trooper that shot his daughter, wow!

  • Jim_Macklin

    Very true, SYG and Castle were not part of the Zimmerman defense.
    But the media and the anti-self-defense folks tried to make it an issue. It has gone so far that hearings have been held in Congress and State legislatures about these two legislative protections and revoking them.
    It is just like the media to create an issue and then report it as “news” of great importance.
    I remember a few years ago when a tourist was stabbed to death on the NYC subway. NBC carried the story and used the truthful words, stabbing, knife but they had a picture of a gun on screen during the entire 30 seconds of the story. The media is invested in the idea that guns are bad. But now the media has also taken on the “cause” of “police are dangerous and murderers” so will NBC, CBS, ABC et al retract their support for ONLY allowing trustworthy, safe and trained police officers to have guns?
    The news last night on the radio, “Police chief claims he shot his wife and it was an accident” New Year’s Eve. Whether alcohol involved was not mentioned.