Guns

3/4 of States Are Now Stand Your Ground; only 12 Are Duty to Retreat

But what exactly do these terms mean?

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I wrote about this several months ago, but several states have gone stand-your-ground since then—Ohio, Arkansas, and now North Dakota—so I thought I'd repeat it. [UPDATE: For more about a twist on the duty to retreat, the duty to comply with negative demands, see this follow-up post.]

[A.] The "duty to retreat" is something of a misnomer (though a very common one); it's not actually a legally binding duty (the way a parent has a duty to support a minor child, or a driver has a duty to exercise reasonable care while driving). Rather, it's a provision that, under certain circumstances, failing to retreat from a confrontation will effectively strip you of your right to use deadly force for self-defense.

To see how it works, let's first set aside situations where you may not use deadly force for self-defense regardless of whether you're in a stand your ground state:

  1. You generally can't use deadly force for self-defense in most states unless you reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death or serious bodily injury or some serious crime: rape, kidnapping or, in some states, robbery, burglary, or arson.
  2. In particular, you can't use deadly force purely in retaliation, once any threat has passed.
  3. Nor can you use deadly force against a simple assault, unless you reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death or serious bodily injury.
  4. You often can't use deadly force merely to protect property, but it's complicated.
  5. You generally can't use deadly force where you are yourself engaged in the commission of a crime (e.g., if you're robbing someone and he fights back, you can't "defend" yourself against him).
  6. You generally can't use deadly force if you attacked the victim or deliberately provoked the victim with the specific purpose of getting the victim to attack or threaten you.

Now let's set aside situations where you may use deadly force for self-defense, again regardless of whether you're in a stand your ground state:

  1. You reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death etc. (see above) and you can't retreat with complete safety. This would cover most situations where, for instance, you're facing an attacker who has a gun, since one generally can't safely retreat from a gun.
  2. You reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death etc. and you're in your home, or (in some states) on other property that you own or in your vehicle or in your workplace. At least the "home" aspect of this is often called the Castle Doctrine, on the theory that your home is your castle.

So what does that leave for the duty-to-retreat / stand-your-ground debate?

  1. You reasonably believe that you're facing the risk of death etc.
  2. You're outside your home (or similar place).
  3. You're not committing a crime, and you aren't the initial aggressor, and (generally speaking) you are where you are legally entitled to be.
  4. In duty-to-retreat states, you are not legally allowed to use deadly force to defend himself if the jury concludes that you could have safely avoided the risk of death or serious bodily injury (or the other relevant crimes) by retreating with complete safety.
  5. In stand-your-ground states, you are legally allowed to use deadly force to defend yourself, regardless of whether the jury concludes that you could have safely avoided the risk of death etc. by retreating.

As best I can tell, the current rule is that 12 states fall in the duty to retreat category, with the states being bunched up quite a bit geographically; the other 38 states are stand your ground:


Stand your ground by statute (30 states plus PR)
Stand your ground by court decision (8 states plus CNMI)
Duty to retreat except in your home (MA, MD, ME, MN, NJ, NY, RI)
Duty to retreat except in your home or workplace (CT, DE, HI, NE)
Duty to retreat except in your home or vehicle or workplace (WI, GU)
Middle-ground approach (DC)
No settled rule (AS, VI)

Pennsylvania imposes a duty to retreat only when faced with an attacker who isn't displaying or using a weapon "readily or apparently capable of lethal use." Since it's rare to have a threat of death or serious bodily injury (remember, you generally can't use deadly force without such a threat) in the absence of such weapons, or of physical restraint that prevents a safe retreat, I view the Pennsylvania rule as being more on the stand-your-ground side.

The rule in federal cases seems to be ambiguous, and it is in D.C. as well. The D.C. formulation, for instance, is a "middle ground." The law "imposes no duty to retreat, as it recognizes that, when faced with a real or apparent threat of serious bodily harm or death itself, the average person lacks the ability to reason in a restrained manner how best to save himself and whether it is safe to retreat." But it "does permit the jury to consider whether a defendant, if he safely could have avoided further encounter by stepping back or walking away, was actually or apparently in imminent danger of bodily harm." Query what exactly that means.

Still, I think this reflects the general pattern:

  1. 3/4 of the states are stand-your-ground, and most of them took this view even before the recent spate of "stand your ground" statutes.
  2. There is however a significant minority, basically a quarter of the states, in favor of a duty to retreat.
  3. Of course, none of this tells us what the right rule ought to be.

NEXT: A Few Thoughts in Anticipation of the Derek Chauvin Verdict

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  1. Law enables self-defense in more and more states. People complaining about bitter clingers losing the legislative battle hardest hit.

    1. All law abiding citizens should conceal carry. If they fail to fire on a violent criminal, they should get a $100 fine.

      1. Self help is the sole factor that unifies all jurisdictions with low crime rates. The lawyer profession is worthless.

      2. “All law abiding citizens should conceal carry. If they fail to fire on a violent criminal, they should get a $100 fine.”

        I call dibs on firing on you.

        1. And if he’s not a violent criminal when you shoot at him, you’ll be the violent criminal everyone else around you will be required to shoot at!

          1. You’re not as scary as you imagine.

            1. I think you meant to say “I’m not as scary as I imagine.”

              1. You thought wrong, (a bad habit you should try avoiding).

                1. Well, glad we cleared that up!

                  But the fact remains: you should have said “I’m not as scary as I imagine”, even if that wasn’t what you meant to say.

  2. What’s the significance of the light and dark green?

    1. Sorry, just updated the legend to make that clear — dark green is stand your ground by statute, light green is stand your ground by court decision.

      1. Why don’t you make the same distinction with “ duty to retreat”?
        I have always suspected “stand your ground” and “castle doctrine” were the people’s response to out of order judges.

        1. Agreed. IIRC, that’s how most “duty to retreat” states ended up that way: Not by statute, but by court decisions.

          1. “Duty to retreat” does come from the old common law, which regarded use of deadly force as something that was only to be allowed if there was no meaningful option to using deadly force. People who go through life looking for an opportunity to use deadly force will probably find one, but the target is not always the one they hit.
            The burglar was surprised in the living room by the armed homeowner, but the shot missed the burglar and went through the wall into the kids’ bedroom. The homeowner pursued the burglar out of the house and emptied the weapon down the street at the fleeing burglar.

            The main problem with “duty to retreat” is the name. It also encompasses allowing the other guy to retreat.

            1. The main problem with “duty to retreat” is the name. It also encompasses allowing the other guy to retreat.

              Wrong. The main problem with “duty to retreat” is that it’s predicated on a braindead notion (which, unsurprisingly, you agree with). Namely, that a victim should know…to a degree of certainty high enough to stake his/her life on…whether or not it is safe to turn their back on an aggressor in an attempt to escape said aggressor, and how likely it is that you can flee faster than that aggressor can pursue, should he/she exercise that option. Oh, and that the state can also make that determination after the fact.

              1. ” it’s predicated on a braindead notion (which, unsurprisingly, you agree with). Namely, that a victim should know…to a degree of certainty high enough to stake his/her life on…whether or not it is safe to turn their back on an aggressor in an attempt to escape said aggressor,”

                dimwit, come back when you actually have a clue. In the meantime, try to avoid telling people what they agree with as if you’d know better than they do what they agree with.

              2. dimwit, come back when you actually have a clue.

                That couldn’t be any funnier, given the considerable stupidity on display in your posts here.

                1. The fact that your stupidity rises to my notice should give you pause, then.

            2. The homeowner pursued the burglar out of the house and emptied the weapon down the street at the fleeing burglar.

              You know that that would be illegal everywhere.

              1. Explain that to Ahmaud Arbery.

                1. But don’t be surprised if it looks like he’s not listening to you.

                2. Explain that to Ahmaud Arbery.

                  Uh…you explain it to the three guys who were arrested and charged with murdering him and are currently being tried on those charges.

                  1. They know what they did.
                    And are apparently surprised to have been arrested for it.

                    1. And therefore it’s legal?

                      “Ignorance of the law is no excuse” is an expression for a reason. Though you’re probably more accustomed to being told simply, “Ignorance is no excuse.”

            3. Also, its predicated on the assumption that the aggressor gets to chase you out of some place you are otherwise allowed to be.

              No. I have the right to peaceably and lawfully assemble in public and in any private venue that will allow.

              I’m not keen on the idea that I have to retreat because *you* are trying to kill me.

              1. “I’m not keen on the idea that I have to retreat because *you* are trying to kill me.”

                Why bother arguing against what people are actually saying to you if there’s something else you’d rather argue against?

                1. Why bother arguing against what people are actually saying to you if there’s something else you’d rather argue against?

                  He’s responding to your assertion about what you “think” (and I’m using that word generously here) the problem is with duty to retreat by pointing out other problems with it….dumbass.

                  1. Let me try reaching your level of stupidity, so you can follow along.

                    Duh.

                    Duh.

                    Duh.

                    Now are you onboard?

                    1. Let me try reaching your level…

                      You need to learn to walk before you can run. Try aspiring to something a little more achievable, like maybe an EEG that isn’t completely flat.

            4. The homeowner pursued the burglar out of the house and emptied the weapon down the street at the fleeing burglar.

              We already know you’re an idiot. There’s no reason to beat it into the ground.

              1. You have no insight to the fact that so many things you “just know” aren’t actually facts, do you?

                1. You have no insight to the fact that so many things you “just know” aren’t actually facts, do you?

                  And you have no understanding with regard to the common usage of “know”, which refers to a conclusion in which one has a very high degree of confidence based on the available evidence.

                  1. Your confidence is badly misplaced, but you don’t get it.

            5. “ The homeowner pursued the burglar out of the house and emptied the weapon down the street at the fleeing burglar.”

              That would not be covered by self defense in most states, because chasing a burglar down the street shows that you are no longer in reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury. Moreover, Castle Doctrine is also unlikely to be useful, since you are no longer in your castle, as you chase the burglar down the street.

              1. Thing is, if you shoot the burglar, whether or not he actually is or ever was a burglar, he’s wounded at least and possibly dead, while you may or may not be charged with a crime.

                1. Thing is, if you shoot the burglar, whether or not he actually is or ever was a burglar, he’s wounded at least and possibly dead, while you may or may not be charged with a crime.

                  What in the hell does that have to do with the legality of chasing someone down the street and then shooting them as they flee?

                  1. Sorry, I was using logic a 9-year-old could follow. So you got left behind. Try reading.

                    1. You do think like a 9 year-old, I’ll give you that.

  3. The problem with duty to retreat laws is twofold:

    1. It may cause a defender to hesitate and get killed;
    2. it is a toehold after the fact for prosecutors opposed to self defense and gun ownership to make an example of an essentially honest and innocent person who has defended them self. This is the Massachusetts situation.

    1. 2. Yes, because prosecutors are notoriously against self-defense and in favour of defending criminals against law-abiding citizens.

      1. it depends today on the color of the skin…today yes in liberal states

        1. Reflexively assuming white victimization in all situations is not going to serve the right well.

          1. If the goal is to win elections, you’re right, as there are now more of them (non-whites and white turncoats) than us. If the goal is to make already angry and disaffected whites realize what the left is doing to them, and provoke acts of rebellion, then it will serve the right very well.

            1. Yes, you’re outnumbered by decent people nowadays.

          2. It’s done wonders for the left though.

      2. Are you being sarcastic, or agreeing with me?

        1. Why can’t it be both.

      3. Failing to retreat in a duty-to-retreat state can make YOU the criminal. And yes, in deep blue states and dense urban areas many prosecutors are opposed to armed self-defense

        1. Keep in mind that you really need to be guilty of the aggravated assault or homicide before self-defense is applicable. Think of it this way – every crime has a list of requirements, that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Self defense provides an additional element that the prosecution must prove – that of disproving self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. So, if the prosecution hasn’t proven every other element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, it is unnecessary to even consider self defense as a legal defense.

          So, for example, if you shoot and kill someone in self defense, you likely have the elements of 2nd or 3rd degree murder, or some level of manslaughter. You shot them, and they died. All that is left is to prove intent (and, thus the level of criminal homicide). But then, if you can assert self defense, and the prosecution cannot disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt, then the shooting is legally excused.

          1. ” Self defense provides an additional element that the prosecution must prove – that of disproving self defense beyond a reasonable doubt.”

            That’s not how affirmative defenses work.

        2. “Failing to retreat in a duty-to-retreat state can make YOU the criminal.”

          “failing to retreat” encompasses all courses of action that avoid escalation to use of deadly force.

          Surprisingly, (for some), using deadly force when you didn’t need to use deadly force is frowned upon among civilized people.

      4. 2. Yes, because prosecutors are notoriously against self-defense and in favour of defending criminals against law-abiding citizens.

        Some actually have been. But don’t let reality get in the way of continuing with your usual clueless commentary.

        1. The fact that you imagine it that way doesn’t make it true.

          1. People who follow self defense law are aware of a lot of anti-self-defense sentiment among prosecutors. It’s not nearly as uncommon as you think it is.

            1. People who make up their own facts are not taken seriously when they claim that facts are on their side.

              1. That’s probably why people don’t take you seriously.

                1. That’s probably why people don’t take you seriously.

                  Among many other reasons.

      5. You would do well to remember that one reason these “Stand Your Ground” and “Castle Doctrine” laws started getting passed, was because of a court case where a woman in Massachusetts fled to the basement of her home with her kids when her estranged husband attacked, and shot him through the door when he was trying to break it down.

        The Prosecution said it wasn’t self defense because there was a window she could have crawled out of, and the jury convicted her.

        So yes, there are States and Prosecutors who are hostile to the idea of self defense.

        1. Given the reference to Massachusetts, I assumed this was a Dr. Ed style fabrication. But, no, it seems to be accurate. Wow, that prosecutor was an asshole.

          1. “Wow, that prosecutor was an asshole.”

            Prosecuting the law as it was. What an asshole.

            1. There’s a funny thing called “prosecutorial discretion” where the Prosecutor can decide not to pursue the case because they recognize that a action may have been illegal according to the law, but justice would not have been served by seeking a conviction.

              Surely, a woman with her children fleeing a murderous estranged husband stuck in the bottom of the basement, with him trying to break down the door, ought to have been such a situation.

            2. Just because you are as big an asshole as the prosecutor doesn’t mean he isn’t way out of line.

              I hope someone you love finds themselves in the same situation and does the same thing – then come on here and post your stupidity for all to see.

              You are a clear example of choosing on the the basis of right and left vs. right and wrong…you dumb fuck.

              1. “Just because you are as big an asshole”
                “I hope someone you love finds themselves in the same situation”

                You win. You’re the bigger asshole.

      6. Well, they are. Even in red states. As far as a prosecutor is concerned, if you’re at the other table then not winning is losing.

        1. It’s almost like killing people is against the law, and prosecutors don’t want people killing other people.

          1. There are prosecutors, however, that would rather have you lay down and die, than fight back for your life when you did nothing wrong.

            Self defense law exists because society recognizes that people shouldn’t be required to lay down and die because someone else attacks you. Prosecutors who prosecute people who obviously acted in self defense are acting contrary to the Law, contrary to justice, and even contrary to the notion that “prosecutors don’t want people killing other people”.

            1. You’re attacking me. Cool with you if I shoot back?

              1. Am I attacking you with lethal force? Then no, I’m not cool with you shooting back. And neither would any Prosecutor.

          2. No, it’s almost like you have your head shoved so far up your self-righteous ass that you can’t think clearly.

            Check, that – there is no “almost” about it.

            Karma could really be a bitch for you someday…be careful what you wish for.

            1. I already conceded that you’re the bigger asshole, what more are you going for?

    2. It’s certainly not hard to find examples of dubious prosecutions of defendants with seemingly compelling self-defense cases. I’m doubtful that a duty retreat is much of substantive factor the duty to retreat is, though, as opposed to being a proxy for how friendly a given community it is to the idea of defensive use of force more generally.

    3. “The problem with duty to retreat laws is twofold:

      1. It may cause a defender to hesitate and get killed;
      2. it is a toehold after the fact for prosecutors opposed to self defense and gun ownership to make an example of an essentially honest and innocent person who has defended them self.”

      How does hesitation cause people to get killed?

      1. Is this really that hard to imagine? If one has to take a moment to make absolutely sure there’s no other avenue for escape when the threat is right there — and a person can be permanently maimed or killed in a moment! — before acting, then that person can literally die in that moment where they should have pulled the trigger instead.

        1. Making things worse – the natural reaction to life and death fight or flight stress is tunnel vision. This can, to some extent, be overcome through training, as is done by the military. Nevertheless, this is a hard wired physiological response. It happens regularly in self defense situations, and plenty of police officers aren’t immune from it either.

        2. ” If one has to take a moment to make absolutely sure there’s no other avenue for escape when the threat is right there”

          It’s not the hesitating that caused the damage, it was the imminent threat of danger that did it. Standing your ground rather than looking for an alternative is what keeps you from avoiding the danger.

          1. “Standing your ground” simply means dealing with the imminent threat of danger without having to take yet another issue into account.

            When a particular case gets to the Prosecutor’s desk, he gets to look at the entire situation as a whole, and is in a position to nit-pick the entire decision process, in a way that the individual in the situation is unable to do.

            1. I get that you are slow and need to have people patiently explain things to you, but other people (most of them) are smarter than you are.

              1. Oh, I know most people are smarter than me. But it’s also clear that you aren’t one of them.

                You aren’t fooling anyone. We know that you’ve resorted to ad hominem attacks because you can’t refute what I have said.

                1. “But it’s also clear that you aren’t one of them.”

                  If you were more capable of analysis, it would be obvious to you, too.

                  ” We know that you’ve resorted to ad hominem attacks because you can’t refute what I have said”

                  Was this ad hominem intended to be taken seriously, or are you just into irony?

                  1. “Was this ad hominem intended to be taken seriously, or are you just into irony?”

                    Why should it matter? Are you going to refute my argument? Or are you going to tell me again how stupid I must be, without actually refuting anything yet again?

              2. I’m going to push back on this a little more:

                Seriously, what justification do you have for giving Prosecutors all the benefit of the doubt to calmly look over a self defense event long after it happened, sipping coffee, and sitting there for hours on end, asking “what could this person have done to avoid having to shoot?”, and valuing this over the judgement of the person right then and there, who’s in the thick of things, when the Supreme Court itself, in Brown v. United States (1921) stated that “[d]etached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife; therefore, in this Court, at least, it is not a condition of immunity that one in that situation should pause to consider whether a reasonable man might not think it possible to fly with safety or to disable his assailant rather than to kill him”?

                1. “Seriously, what justification do you have for giving Prosecutors all the benefit of the doubt to calmly look over a self defense event long after it happened, sipping coffee, and sitting there for hours on end, asking ‘what could this person have done to avoid having to shoot?’,”

                  I don’t know, why DO you imagine it that way?

                  1. Because that’s the reality? Anyone looking over a particular incident gets to do it in a calm, dispassionate manner, already knowing what the outcome of the incident was.

                    The person involved in the incident doesn’t get that luxury. Hence, the Supreme Court decision I quoted.

      2. The fact that you are really stupid enough to ask that demonstrates you are too stupid to contribute anything of value to this discussion.

        If someone has broken into my house, I am not going to wait around to determine whether he represents a threat to me and my family. I’d rather spend my life in jail knowing that I saved my kids’ lives than sit around with my finger up my ass in a situation where split seconds mean the difference between them living and dying.

        You really are beneath contempt. I’d like to think that you really can’t be that stupid, but you have removed all doubt with each succeeding comment.

        1. “The fact that you are really stupid enough to ask that demonstrates you are too stupid to contribute anything of value to this discussion.”

          You’re talking to yourself. Plus you are a giant asshole.

        2. “If someone has broken into my house, I am not going to wait around to determine whether he represents a threat to me and my family. I’d rather spend my life in jail knowing that I saved my kids’ lives than sit around with my finger up my ass in a situation where split seconds mean the difference between them living and dying.”

          Shooting at things inside your house is how you keep your kids safe? Hopefully, this is because someone has removed those poor kids from your house before you shot them.

          1. Yes, sometimes shooting at “things” (which is an inhumane way to refer to people, even if they are criminals) in your house is necessary to keep kids safe.

            If you were to spend some time learning how to use a gun in self defense scenarios, you’ll know there’s a lot of effort put into learning how to limit the possibility of bullets going through walls, and how to avoid shooting the wrong person when there’s been a break-in.

            Hint: this is a major reason why hollow-point bullets are preferred for self defense.

            1. “Yes, sometimes shooting at “things” (which is an inhumane way to refer to people, even if they are criminals) in your house is necessary to keep kids safe.”

              If you think it’s inhumane, why did you do it?

              “If you were to spend some time learning how to use a gun in self defense scenarios”

              Why bother with that, when I could just use a reality-distorting field like the one you have?

              1. When was the last time I referred to a person as a “thing”? Yet here you are, calling people “things”.

                And yes, while shooting at people may be “inhumane”, self defense law only allows it against people who are trying to be inhumane to someone innocent. It’s a lesser of two evils scenario.

                And if you’re not going to bother to learn anything about self defense, nor the weapons available for self defense, before commenting on the issue, it becomes very clear that you are the one that is using a reality-distorting field.

                If what I say looks distorted, it’s because the field surrounding you is the thing that’s doing the distortion.

  4. If you can safely withdraw, you’re not in danger, and any state law that allows you to kill a fellow citizen in that circumstance is a licence to kill. No need to dress it up to make it sound nicer than it is.

    1. Now explain exactly the criteria for “safely withdraw”, considering you have no idea what’s in the mind of your assailant? Do you presume their best possible action (for you), or the worst. Remember that you have a second or two to make this determination.

      1. Hey! To be fair, maybe that poster can run at over 1500 feet per second and trusts to the tender mercies of a violent home invader?

        1. This doesn’t have anything to do with home invasions, you twit.

          1. In some cases, it literally has!

      2. Now explain exactly the criteria for “safely withdraw”

        If only there was some kind of original post where that question was discussed…

    2. If you are in danger absent retreat, it is impossible to retreat with complete safety.

      Complete safety doesn’t exist any where or any when. You don’t have complete safety sitting in your ez-chair in your Livingroom.

      1. So your conclusion is that everybody is always justified shooting anybody?

        1. Yea, that follows logically from what he said. /sarc

        2. So your conclusion is that everybody is always justified shooting anybody?

          Do you really have the reading skills of a lobotomized baboon, or are you being intentionally dishonest?

          1. “Do you really have the reading skills of a lobotomized baboon”
            Keep working at it, and someday you can reach up to that level.

            1. One can only hope that you have the excuse of having suffered some sort of head trauma…or substance abuse.

      2. “If you are in danger absent retreat, it is impossible to retreat with complete safety. ”

        It’s also impossible to stand your ground with complete safety.

        1. Hence the need to respond to the attack, rather than look for an avenue of retreat.

          1. I should clarify: when you are in a situation where you must use lethal force in order to survive, you have a non-zero risk of dying, and a non-zero risk of going to prison — and that’s true, even if everything you do is legal.

            1. ” when you are in a situation where you must use lethal force in order to survive, you have a non-zero risk of dying, and a non-zero risk of going to prison”

              How about when you just imagine you must use lethal force?

              1. Imagination is free, and it’s helpful to boot: it can help you to better understand when you can flee, when you can de-escalate, and when you can, should, and even must attack.

                If you imagine a lot of scenarios, you may even be prepared if one of them becomes a nightmare reality for you, and you stand a better chance of coming out of the encounter with you and your friends and family alive, with a solid legal foundation to challenge civil and criminal prosecutions, and perhaps even minimal to no psychological scarring as well.

                I know you think you’re being funny when you mock the idea of imaginary lethal force, but people actually do imagine and role-play scenarios to cement both how they might act, both legally and lethally (or not — not all self defense situations require lethal force, after all) in different situations.

        2. It’s also impossible to stand your ground with complete safety.

          You have all the reasoning skills of a potato.

          1. So you’re overmatched? Sorry ’bout that.

    3. Correct. Stand-your-ground forces everybody to get a gun. A profitable situation for gun manufacturers, of course.

      1. If your concern is that public policies might encourage gun purchases…you may want to see what the pandemic and riots have done to gun sales lately. Highest on record. Only the Civil War put more guns into the hands of typical Americans.

        1. That is the problem right now – it has gotten hard to find many types of guns, and the cost of ammunition has gone through the roof. Indeed, the shooting school that I have utilized several times is not running a lot of its classes, with the cost of ammunition exceeding the cost of the classes now.

          1. Last month I went to go buy a box of .45 to go plinking….it was $50, limit two boxes.

            I said never mind.

            One local gun store is offering to buy stashed ammo for close to market prices, like a pawn shop, then they are reselling it at the going rate. I don’t know how many takers they are getting.

            1. That shooting school is run by a Glock fanboy. Asked if I could bring my .22 LR G44 (same form factor as my 9 mm G19). In the past, he wanted us using self defense caliber ammunition. But with the insane costs of ammunition, he is now allowing .22 LR analogues of self defense firearms that can be carried in holsters. And I picked up several thousand rounds of .22 LR target ammunition for minimal cost last year. Worked out great this last winter – every couple ties shooting, I would alternate shooting a magazine of .22 with a magazine of self defense caliber ammunition (9 mm, 10 mm, .40 S&W, .45ACP). That meant that maybe 3/4 if my shooting was .22 LR. The big problem with .22 LR is the lack of recoil, which is why I mixed in magazines of higher caliber magazines. And, a Glock is a Glock, so alternating wasn’t an issue.

        2. “If your concern is that public policies might encourage gun purchases”

          Looks more like a concern that something might be artificially inflating the costs of guns and/or supplies. No danger of THAT happening, though.

      2. I’ve seen you say this before, but I’ve never seen you explain your reasoning. Stand your ground laws don’t forbid retreating. Why don’t they allow anyone who wants to do so to act exactly the way they would in a duty to retreat jurisdiction?

      3. Correct. Stand-your-ground forces everybody to get a gun.

        Every time I think you’ve already said the most stupid things you possibly can…you prove me wrong.

        1. Then you sweep in with a topper.

            1. It’s what you’d do, if you had the intellectual capacity. So all you can muster is “Nuh-uh! YOU do!” which should have stopped working for you when you left second grade. Unless…

              1. I always resort to second-grade playground arguments when interacting with you. It’s because I let myself get down to your intellectual level.

                I have noticed that this happens a lot to you. While the commenters may change, they all have one thing in common: you.

      4. Non-sequitur stupidity 101.

        1. Thanks for the graduate course.

      5. There is more than one way to respond to lethal force, and not all methods require a gun.

        Stand Your Ground also applies to people defending against using lethal force using knives, bats, and even their hands and feet. Heck, it can even apply to a situation where you throw someone over the edge of a parking structure.

        1. It could even apply to people inclined to find a non-violent way to resolve their crisis.

          1. Indeed. Heck, it applies when the crisis only involves non-lethal force. But all that only works when the aggressor is willing to be non-violent.

            Not all aggressors have that disposition. Hence, Self Defense Law.

    4. That assumes everyone has 100% situational awareness at all times. They do not.

      1. Also, someone might have the ability to retreat with safety for themselves, but doing so might put someone else in danger, like a spouse or child

        1. How about my fellow citizens? As policing collapses. Citizens are now responsible for the safety of the community.

      2. “That assumes everyone has 100% situational awareness at all times.”

        Nobody assumes this.

          1. So hire better.

            1. I may get a say in my Prosecutor, but I don’t necessarily get the Prosecutor I want.

              And I don’t get to choose the jurisdiction where I might have to act in self defense — and thus have no say in the Prosecution in that jurisdiction.

              And it’s perfectly reasonable for States to pass laws like this one to forbid particular actions and arguments of any Prosecutor in the State as inappropriate.

              1. “And I don’t get to choose the jurisdiction where I might have to act in self defense”

                Unless you’re in somebody else’s custody, you’re the ONLY one who has that choice.

                1. On the contrary: anyone who travels from one city to another can find themselves in a jurisdiction where they are under a different Prosecutor than the one they voted for.

                  And it’s not the defender who gets to decide where the attack happens. It’s the attacker.

                  1. ” anyone who travels from one city to another can find themselves in a jurisdiction where they are under a different Prosecutor than the one they voted for.”

                    Who did the choosing to travel. It was you, wasn’t it?

                    1. Either you’re saying that no one should have the right to self defense, except in their home (and given your proclivity to support that particular Massachusetts decision, I don’t think you’re even willing to cede that), or you want us all to stay at home, where we can never get attacked (except when we are).

                      I have no idea why you are trying to defend this particular hill. It’s a particularly stupid hill to die on.

    5. You are assuming perfect knowledge, which is the problem with the Retreat Doctrine – that the shooter will typically have tunnel vision at the time of the shooting, due to the stress of the situation, so was unable to see the Avenue of retreat that the prosecutors could find with months of research by their investigators and detectives.

      1. The duty to retreat does require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was subjectively aware of the option of retreat, so I’m not sure how compelling that argument is.

        1. The requirement of subjective knowledge of an Avenue of retreat would tend to negate the need for abrogating the Retreat Doctrine with SYD. How do you prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant knew of the Avenue of retreat? It would be very difficult.

          The move to SYD across the country didn’t arise in a vacuum. Rather, it primarily arose through prosecutorial overreach. And that meant negating self defense claims through proof that there were an Avenues of retreat, and not that the defendants knew of them, and chose not to use them.

        2. It’s called shitting in your pants because your life is or even may be in danger. You might have memorized the Gettysburg address, but I bet reciting it with a gun pointed at you and seconds to live might prove a tad more difficult than under non-stressful circumstances.

          And in any home invasion, even if I had a gun, if I can escape I assuredly will. But if my family is in the house, that changes the dynamic completely, and leaving would only make me a PoS coward. I am duty-bound to protect my family.

          1. “It’s called shitting in your pants because your life is or even may be in danger.”

            I’m sure you’re good at it.

      2. “You are assuming perfect knowledge, which is the problem with the Retreat Doctrine”

        Assuming that “Retreat Doctrine” is something you just now made up, holding someone else responsible for knowing the ins and outs of something you just made up is also kind of sketch, don’t you think?

        1. And what did I just make up?

          1. This “Retreat Doctrine” you were talking about.

            1. This “Retreat Doctrine” is far more often referred to as “Duty to Retreat”.

              A “duty” that Prosecutors have abused so much, than a number of States have passed laws in an attempt to take the argument off of the table.

              To put things in perspective, there are States where Prosecutors might still argue a “Duty to Retreat” through the requirement of “Reasonableness” (one of the five requirements of self defense), saying “But a reasonable person would have retreated.” Some of the States that have passed Stand Your Ground laws have explicitly, by statute, forbidden the Prosecution from making even this argument.

              1. That’s a lot of words to say that you don’t know what you’re talking about, either.

                1. Perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about. I would have to confess that I’m parroting what I have learned from lawyer Andrew Branca, the one who made the distinction between “soft” and “hard” Stand Your Ground States.

                  If you want better understanding of the distinction, I’ll refer you to this interview with Andrew Branca.

                  1. “Perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

                    Perhaps.

                    1. Now go find that quote in the article I linked to that shows the world I don’t know what I’m talking about.

                      (I should add that the article itself is about 6 years old, and more States have become “hard” Stand Your Ground States since then, including one State that had recently gone straight from Duty to Retreat to “hard” Stand Your Ground.)

        2. Assuming that “Retreat Doctrine” is something you just now made up

          You really are as dumb as a box of rocks. “Retreat Doctrine” is a shorthand for the doctrine of “duty to retreat”. It may be found (also in the longer “duty to retreat doctrine” form) in many sources on the subject. If you know any reasonably bright 10 year-olds see if you get one of them to help you figure out how to use one of the better-known search engines, using “retreat doctrine” as a search exercise.

          1. I’ve been somewhat informally studying Self Defense Law for years. I believe this is the first time I saw the term “Retreat Doctrine”, so I’m a little surprised that it is, indeed, used in sources on the subject. Maybe I’ve seen it before and it just hasn’t phased me.

            Having said that, it’s immediately obvious as to what the term actually means, even if it’s been made up on the spot.

          2. “You really are as dumb as a box of rocks.”

            You really are dumber. congratulations, you win(?)

    6. Does that include the law in every US state that declines to impose a duty to retreat in one’s residence?

    7. Yes. Just submit to the violent among us. That will make things better.

      1. They want their guns. And permission to use them whenever they want.

        1. But there’s only so much we can do about criminal gangs and rogue government agents.

          At some point, the non-violent among us come to realize that the best way to deal with the violent among us is to get a gun, get training, and understand self defense law, and do our best to deal with the violent people who unavoidably cross our paths.

          1. So leave your criminal gang and stop keeping the drugs and the money in your own house and get a stash house.

            1. Oh, that’s easy for me: I’ve never done that, so I’ve never had those kinds of issues to deal with personally!

              Having said that, it’s not fun when I’ve already signed a lease, and then only learn a couple of months afterward that my neighbor’s house is a meth house. Fortunately I’ve never had to deal with a break-in by a druggie, but the possibility was real.

              And it doesn’t matter anyway: I could live in the safest of neighborhoods, and someone could still come and attack me. There’s no such thing as a “safe space” from crime.

        2. No you fucktard – we want the right to protect ourselves and our family. If I had a gun, the LAST thing I am doing is looking for an excuse to use it. But if the situation dictates, I would rather than stand idly by while my family is hurt or killed…you know, like a wimpy soy boy like you would.

          If someone was raping your wife you’d be asking him if he needs a towel. What a loser.

          1. “No you fucktard – we want the right to protect ourselves and our family.”

            By shooting at them?

            1. Rule #4: Know your target and what’s beyond it.

              This is the fourth of four fundamental rules of gun safety. They don’t magically become invalid just because your family is under attack.

              1. You’re the one who spends all that time fantasizing about your family being under attack.

                1. I also fantasize about what I would do if my house were on fire, or in a flood, or were hit by an earthquake. It’s all part of being prepared for unlikely, yet not at all unusual, emergencies.

    8. If you can safely withdraw, you’re not in danger,

      Um, that’s not how physics, or the English language, works.

      1. Actually, I learned just today that there’s truth behind those words “if you can safely withdraw, you’re not in danger”.

        There are or were (I don’t know if the law has changed since then) States where you didn’t have a Duty to Retreat if you were attacked with lethal force, but did if you were attacked with non-lethal force, the reasoning being that if you were under immanent threat of life or limb, you had to act immediately, but if the threat wasn’t life-threatening, you had the time to look for possible ways to leave before responding in kind.

        On the other hand, there are/were States that were just the opposite: you were expected to try to flee from lethal violence, but if you were facing non-lethal violence, you were free to Stand Your Ground. I think the reasoning behind that was that you should find all avenues of retreat before resorting to force that could maim or kill someone.

        Between the two, I think the first makes more sense than the second, but I think it’s more reasonable to just have Stand Your Ground in both instances.

  5. ‘License to kill’ implies complete impunity. Being limited only to people who are attacking you to the point of serious bodily harm or death is hardly complete impunity. I hope you dont charge people for your rather poor logic skills.

    1. So the duty is different for an obese person being physically pummeled than for a regular jogger under the same circumstance; as well as people of poor eyesight who have lost their glasses in a panicked situation.

      I like using arm chair hind sight to blame people for thinking the way I want them to think, too.

      1. *not thinking the way I want them to think

      2. Yes the standards are different for different. I could shoot someone trying to knock my wife down due to her fragile back. Very likely if they succeeded, she would soon be undergoing extensive back surgery, if she survived that long. But Chuck Norris wouldn’t be able to shoot someone merely because they tried to knock him down.

        As for vision issues – the self defense privilege only applies to the person putting you in reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury, and his accomplices and confederates. Shoot them, fine. But don’t shoot any innocent third parties, even by accident. If they weren’t personally threatening you or someone else, then self defense doesn’t apply. And very likely if that third party dies you are likely facing a conviction for 2nd Degree Depraved Mind/Heart Murder or some level of Manslaughter.

        1. If you’re reasonably responding to someone attacking you, and you accidentally kill someone in the process, you might not be facing manslaughter. It depends on a lot of factors — among which is whether or not your actions were reasonable to stop the attacker.

          But in certain situations, if you respond to an attack, and you accidentally kill someone, it is the attacker who faces the murder or manslaughter charges — and if the attacker was committing a crime (say burglary, or robbing a bank) they may very well be facing 1st Degree Murder charges.

          1. “If you’re reasonably responding to someone attacking you, and you accidentally kill someone in the process, you might not be facing manslaughter. It depends on a lot of factors — among which is whether or not your actions were reasonable to stop the attacker.”

            This guy was threatening me, so I shot THAT guy over there.

            Sounds reasonable.

            1. You’re assuming perfect shots — and also that nothing accidental can happen when you are fighting for your life.

              You are also acting as if we’re talking about imaginary scenarios, when the reality is that we’re talking about legislation and court decisions resulting from things that have actually happened.

              1. “You’re assuming perfect shots”

                You’re assuming what I’m assuming, and doing a poor job of it.

                1. I agree: at this point, it’s so clear that you have so little grounding in self defense law, it’s pointless to try to make any assumptions about your knowledge of the subject.

                  I think we would both best be served by accepting it’s the empty set, and move on.

    2. I guess that’s one way to make a living: charge by the hour for inventing new criteria and then applying them to something somebody said. Congratulations on an undoubtedly profitable business model!

  6. I thought Colorado was a “Make My Day” state. That’s where you can shoot someone who is running away. In the back. Several cases have established this.

    Insane.

    1. CO Make My Day law essentially primarily involves the Castle Doctrine. It essentially loosens up the situations where you can use deadly force in your home.

    2. No. No state in the country allows that.

      Not even in Texas.

      1. In California, there’s case law that says it’s ok for you to chase an attacker if it’s necessary to secure your safety.

        California is the only State that has that, though.

        1. Which is why those guys are in a Georgia jail on charges of killing Armaud Arbery for running through their neighborhood.

          1. In that case, if those guys are found “Not Guilty”, it will be because of quirks in Georgia’s Citizen’s Arrest laws (which, if I understand correctly, have been changed since that incident), and not necessarily because of self defense law.

            The law can be funny that way.

            1. Mr. Arbery wasn’t armed, so he didn’t have an opportunity to invoke armed self-defense.

              1. He was shot when trying to take the shotgun from one of the others. Assuming that the others are either justified in believing Mr. Arbery was an aggressor (which is somewhat, but not entirely, iffy), or that the others were justified in making a Citizen’s Arrest (the case for which is surprisingly strong), trying to take a gun from someone is indeed lethal force.

                I’m not going to pretend that those guys in Georgia have a slam dunk to get off the hook for that shooting. Even if they are in the right (and I’m not entirely convinced they are), there’s a good chance that the Jury will send them to prison anyway — and whether they are found Not Guilty or not, it will be a classic case of “even if it’s legal to do something, doesn’t mean that you should do it”.

  7. Always better to be tried by 12 than carried by six.

  8. “…one generally can’t safely retreat from a gun.”

    Probably true, depending on the gun, the proximity, and the shooting skill of the person wielding the gun.

    It’s been a while, but both my wife and I worked in downtown Detroit for a while. We both went through defense training from the city police at the time and their recommendation if threatened by a person with a handgun was to run – once you’re more than a dozen or so feet away handguns are pretty inaccurate unless the assailant is well practiced, which most handgun robbers aren’t.

    So, yeah, in many cases it’s entirely possible to retreat from a gun. Not with complete safety, but usually the safest thing to do.

    OTOH, pulling out your heater almost guarantees an exchange of fire. Are you feeling lucky?

    1. Detroit. ‘Nuff said. Police. ‘Nuff said.

      And Clem conflates gun accuracy with shooter accuracy. I believe that Professor Volokh covered “compete safety” above, like at the beginning.

      1. The best defense against an attacker armed with a gun is to be somewhere else.

        1. That’s true of any attack, no matter how big or small, actually.

          1. No need to be elsewhere if you’re going to be attacked with a feather.

            1. Unless you get anaphylactic shot from that feather.

              1. Or if the dinosaur that feather came from happens to be nearby, and still sore about having a feather plucked.

                1. Either way, if I don’t feel like being attacked by a feather, I’m better off far away from the attack, than hear it. And this is true, even if I just don’t want to be tickled.

        2. Yeah, what an asshole you’d have to be to go to sleep in your own house, knowing that someone was due to break in that night.

          1. Pick a different kind of paint to huff for a couple of days, and see if you don’t get better.

    2. I am sure the statistics are very reassuring to the people who are shot by lucky robbers, those robbers who have practiced, and those robbers who can run down their intended victims.

      But, hey, the Detroit police have improved their closure rate for murder cases. They’re approaching 40%, according to the Washington Post. So when a robber does shoot and kill you in Detroit, there’s almost a two-in-five chance anyone will be arrested over it! (Those chances were probably lower when you were there. Maybe they have revised their approaches to addressing crime.)

    3. “We both went through defense training from the city police at the time and their recommendation if threatened by a person with a handgun was to run – once you’re more than a dozen or so feet away handguns are pretty inaccurate unless the assailant is well practiced, which most handgun robbers aren’t.”

      That is typical of what I’d expect big city police to tell the citizenry (‘leave the shooting to the police’), and it’s also a bunch of bull, according to most professional self-defense instruction.

      When confronted, face to face, with a gun-wielding assailant, in the 500 ms it takes to turn around to run, you are still a big, close, hard to miss target for a bullet, and if he intends to shoot you, he will hit you. The best advice is to talk to him – assailants rarely shoot victims who are talking to them. Then take cover, if available, in a direction that is not in line with the assailant’s gun, like jumping between parked cars. Then expect to be pursued. And so on, ….

      Turning and running can get you killed. You are betting on the assailant’s intent, and his reaction to your flight.

      If you are going to carry, get professional training, on technique, situational response, and legal aspects; and go to the range and practice.

    4. Handguns are NOT inaccurate past a dozen feet. Untrained shooters are.

      You don’t need to be a gee whiz trick shot to hit a man sized target at 25 feet. In fact, most police training scenarios involve man-sized targets at 25 feet for handguns.

      There is, though, the “leaded law of shooting.”

      1. Heck, I’m not even a trained shooter, and I can hit a man sized target at 25 feet, just point shooting. Good thing, too, because since my cataract surgery I can’t really see the sights on a gun worth a darn anyway.

        1. Have you considered an ACOG? That’s the new trend on pistols these days.

          Example, see the guy at the header of this page: https://www.smith-wesson.com/products/competition-shooting

          1. On a pistol? I’d be more likely to go with a laser or a holosight. Probably the laser, since I’m already a point shooter.

      2. “You don’t need to be a gee whiz trick shot to hit a man sized target at 25 feet. In fact, most police training scenarios involve man-sized targets at 25 feet for handguns.”

        In the field, is not like at the range. It’s not unusual to have 3,4, 10 shots fired with none hitting the intended target. Shooting at well-lit, stationary targets is not the same thing as hitting a moving man who doesn’t want to be shot.

        1. True, but in this scenario, you’re betting your life on hoping that one of those bullets won’t hit you.

          Perhaps it’s the best bet you’ve got, but I wouldn’t hold it against someone who doesn’t like those odds and decides to respond to an assailant in a different way.

          1. “True, but in this scenario, you’re betting your life on hoping that one of those bullets won’t hit you.”

            If you don’t point the weapon at yourself, then none of the bullets will hit you.

            1. But what do you do about the gun, knife, or other deadly implement that is in someone else’s hands?

              1. Be somewhere where the other deadly implement isn’t, duh.

                1. Great advice! It’s a pity that aggressors won’t always afford you the privilege to do just that. Too often, they bring their own deadly implements.

        2. So then how do we end up with all those people dead from gunshots?

          Nice self-own, you imbecile.

          1. “So then how do we end up with all those people dead from gunshots?”

            spray-and-pray.

            1. In other words, even though it’s not unusual for 3, 4, or 10 shot being fired without anyone getting hit, it’s still not unusual for people to get hit by shots.

              I don’t think you recovered from your self-own.

      3. Even a poorly trained shooter like me can hit a chest-sized target with a micro-compact 9mm pistol from 30 yards away.

        Small, hard-recoiling gun. Small sight radius. Minimal training. I can do it.

        And the gun itself? Can hit a dinner-plate sized target at 100 yards if you’re good enough.

        Yeah, its not the gun, most guns are better than the shooter like most motorcycles are better than the rider.

        1. “Even a poorly trained shooter like me can hit a chest-sized target with a micro-compact 9mm pistol from 30 yards away.”

          In the mid-80’s, I went to basic training as offered by the USAF. Rifle training was 4 hours one afternoon followed the next morning by a trip to the firing range. Our day at the range consisted of 40 scored rounds at 10 yards range from 4 positions: Standing, kneeling, sitting, and prone. Minimum passing score was 0 hits. Then they take the rifles away and don’t give them back. (They don’t give us rifles, but they do give us 2/3 of the nuclear triad).

  9. Those maps are not to scale! Look at the size of Guam compared to Alaska. Fake News!

  10. Have any of our common taters above practiced / trained in decsion making under uncertainty with a deadly weapon in their hand? How long does the citizen have to consider the legal ramifications of a self-defense shooting?

    A business opportunity might be commercial Implicit Attitude Testing / Shoot-Don’t Shoot training parlors.

  11. One would be wise to read up on the STAND YOUR GROUND laws in ones state ! Florida’s law has more cons then pro’s ! Read the fine print ! It could keep you out of jail ! The Michael Draka case is a good example of this ! They bowed to mob pressure and found him guilty when he was truly assaulted ! Many of the states that allow you to carry a gun will crucify you if you use it !

  12. You can have these laws all you want, but as the cases of Michael Drejka (Florida) and Raul Rodriguez (Texas) have shown, it doesn’t matter what the law says as long as you have women and girly men on the jury. There are enough of these pathetic people who think that if the shooter at all contributed to the situation, the shooting is unjustified, even though that’s not what the law says.

    And these perverts also generally think that killing a person in self-defense should be an absolute last resort, because they think the lives of worthless savages like Markeis McGlockton and George Floyd are worth something.

    1. We have, admittedly, “anarcho-tyranny” in this country. I remind myself, though, that the situation currently (at least in this context of self defense) is a reversal of how it was about 60 years ago.

      1. In what sense?

        1. Here is one example. Concealed carry laws were put in place to apply to blacks, not whites. At times, this is explicitly said by courts and legislators. The courts and cops just didn’t apply the laws to whites. Meanwhile, prison labor camps in the South will filled with blacks who were caught carrying concealed, in fact, it was the number one reason that they were there, followed by vagrancy.

          So now, we have a situation where the pendulum has swung to far in the other direction. If you’re a cop or white guy using justifiable levels of force in self defense against a black man or Antifa mob, no matter HOW cut and dry it is, even on video, you’d best be prepared to have your life turned inside out and be financially ruined for it, if not end up in prison.

          1. Fair enough. Note though that the black community was much better behaved in the 1950s than they are today.

            1. “…the black community was much better behaved in the 1950s than they are today.”

              If the black community had intact families and was as generally law abiding now as then, but with the increased opportunities now available, well, we’d might actually have a country.

                1. Great. Now I need a shower.

    2. In the case of Michael Drejka, he also had a horrible lawyer.

      It drives me nuts that you could have a good case, but if you have a lousy lawyer you’re still going to jail, and while I have thought about this problem a lot, I have not been able to come to any satisfactory answer to this difficult problem.

  13. What this debate boils down to is whether using deadly force should be reserved to cases where there is no other option or should be allowed as a first option.

    “Duty to retreat” refers to a framework where, if you had a choice other than deadly force, you are required to use it before resorting to deadly force.

    The problem hypothetical is the case of a person who initiates a fistfight, learns that the person they are fighting is better at fistfighting than anticipated, and then draws a weapon to avoid losing a fistfight that they started. “Stand your ground” does not avoid the problem in that hypothetical, but “duty to retreat” does.

    1. I know you (likely) think that that’s what happened with Trayvon Martin (it wasn’t) but aside from that situation, just how often has that hypothetical happened in real life?

      Further, do you propose not making into law broadly supported ideas (stand your ground is but one example) based on the possibility of a lawyerly hypothetical niche problem that may occur?

      Even further, isn’t that what courts are for when said hypotheticals do happen, if they ever do?

      1. “I know you (likely) think that that’s what happened with Trayvon Martin (it wasn’t) but aside from that situation, just how often has that hypothetical happened in real life? ”

        Other than that one well-known case where it happened in real life, no, I don’t know when else that hypothetical has played out in real life.

        “do you propose not making into law broadly supported ideas (stand your ground is but one example) based on the possibility of a lawyerly hypothetical niche problem that may occur? ”

        I propose writing broadly supported ideas into laws that don’t have niche problems that may occur. Yes, this demands that whoever’s drafting the laws think carefully about all the possible interactions. A man can dream.

        ” isn’t that what courts are for when said hypotheticals do happen, if they ever do?”

        No, it isn’t. Courts are for applying the statutes, not for rewriting them.

        1. You should go get yourself a subscription to the “Law of Self Defense” Blog, and go over as many of the “cases of the week” blogposts as you can there. You will find that the courts frown on people who pick non-lethal fights only to make them lethal. The only exception to this is when they attempt to pull away from the fight they started (and are still responsible for, legally), but the person initially attacked chases them down with lethal force.

          If the initially attacked person succeeds in killing the attacker, it’s usually considered murder or manslaughter. If the initially attacked person is maimed or killed by the attacker, it’s now considered self defense.

          And, incidentally, if you start a fight, you have a duty to retreat, even in States that recognize “Stand Your Ground”, because being the aggressor means you didn’t have the right to self defense, and must then do something to “regain innocence”.

          (I’d recommend you’d do it for free, but unfortunately Andrew Branca no longer provides free access to these posts. I am only aware of them because he used to make them available for free for three days after posting them. And if you aren’t willing to pay the money to review all that case law, I’d recommend at least reviewing all the free material he still makes available on his blog. It’s pretty clear you could use some lessons on self defense.)

          1. Or I could choose NOT to be propagandized to. Yeah, I think that’s the direction I’ll go with.

        2. “I propose writing broadly supported ideas into laws that don’t have niche problems that may occur. Yes, this demands that whoever’s drafting the laws think carefully about all the possible interactions. A man can dream.”

          Niche problems will always occur, because it’s impossible to figure out all possible interactions. Let’s say there are only 52 possible variables that can interact together, and any one scenario will choose 5 of those variables. Then there will be 311,875,200 possible interactions.

          I, for one, am glad that any one legislature can’t possibly work out all possible interactions. If they could work them out, that would imply that humans can be carefully programmed, and that once the legislature finishes their session, there will be no need for the remaining citizens to think about anything.

          1. Bah, I just realized I made a mistake in the number of interactions: I forgot that order didn’t matter! The correct number of interactions is 2,598,960. Still a pretty big number, though.

            1. You forgot to account for the fact that not all interactions are possible, which negates your entire mathematical exercise a waste of time.

    2. As the initial physical aggressor, your hypothetical assailant would not be justified in using any level of physical force in self-defense, in any US jurisdiction.

      1. How do you overcome the fact that only one party is able to testify as to what happened in the altercation?

        1. Duty to retreat doesn’t overcome that. After all, if I shoot an attacker – there’s still only one person left to testify that I couldn’t safely retreat.

          1. Read below.

        2. In many cases, there’s eye witnesses.

          Sometimes there’s surveillance video. Or audio. Or there’s a 911 call that has recorded the altercation.

          Sometimes there’s behavioral evidence that the person knew at the time of the incident that what he did was wrong.

          Sometimes there’s physical evidence that doesn’t match with the story that the person told.

          In some cases, even the character of the people involved can be a factor — if the person shot is known for being an aggressor, and the person shooting is not, then that’s considered a good indication that maybe the person shot was an aggressor.

          And in many cases, the person who got shot survives, and gets to tell his version of the story, for better or for worse.

          Most of these altercations don’t happen in a vacuum.

          1. “And in many cases, the person who got shot survives, and gets to tell his version of the story, for better or for worse.”

            I forgot to account for the fact that you might not be a very good shot.

    3. Except that stand your ground doesn’t apply there.

      1. You seem to have confused “isn’t supposed to” and “doesn’t”.

    4. “The problem hypothetical is the case of a person who initiates a fistfight, learns that the person they are fighting is better at fistfighting than anticipated, and then draws a weapon to avoid losing a fistfight that they started. “Stand your ground” does not avoid the problem in that hypothetical, but “duty to retreat” does.”

      Just to be clear: The hypothetical (or not-so-hypothetical, as the case may be, and it often is) that you describe is not covered by “Stand Your Ground” at all. There are five elements to self defense, and one of them is “Innocence”. If you start the fight, right off the back you don’t have that element.

      You can only regain “Innocence” if you withdraw from the fight, make it clear you withdraw from that fight, and the person continues to attack you. And even then, you can’t pull out the gun unless the person who attacked you — and who is now the aggressor — resorts to lethal force in this new attack.

      Even then, you are still legally responsible for the first non-lethal fight you started.

      (Just as the law frowns on people killing other people, the law frowns on people starting non-lethal fights with other people.)

      1. ” If you start the fight, right off the back you don’t have that element.”

        If there’s someone alive who can testify that you started the fight, that might be true.

    5. The problem hypothetical is the case of a person who initiates a fistfight, learns that the person they are fighting is better at fistfighting than anticipated, and then draws a weapon to avoid losing a fistfight that they started. “Stand your ground” does not avoid the problem in that hypothetical, but “duty to retreat” does.

      Stand your ground laws do not apply to someone who was the initial aggressor; such a person still has the duty to retreat.

      Of course, issues of proof still remain.

      1. ” issues of proof still remain.”

        Under SYG, “I was afraid” covers all of them.

  14. You colored South Dakota as a duty to retreat except in your home state when you meant Minnesota if your parenthetical lists are correct. MN is the one with an Upper Peninsula to the east of Wisconsin.

    1. “MN is the one with an Upper Peninsula to the east of Wisconsin.”

      That would be Michigan. I may originally be a “troll”, but I did go to college in the UP.

    2. MN is the one with an Upper Peninsula to the east of Wisconsin.

      And you feel qualified to correct others?

    3. You are right. I seem to have forgotten to drink my coffee this morning.

  15. Duty to retreat states need to stand their ground.

    1. On the contrary: they should finally recognize the violation of justice that “Duty to Retreat” is in practice.

      This is the #1 reason “Duty to Retreat” has slowly been evaporating.

      1. It has nothing to do with lobbying by people who stand to make more money selling firearms and accessories. NOTHING!

        1. Why? Has the gun industry been benefiting from Stand Your Ground laws? And what about the Court decisions where Stand Your Ground is established — did the gun industry lobby for those, too?

          I would propose that the gun industry has been too busy dealing with the heightened gun demand caused by COVID-19 and the various riots to worry about how changes in self-defense law would affect their bottom lines.

          1. “Why? Has the gun industry been benefiting from Stand Your Ground laws? ”

            Are sales and prices up?

            “what about the Court decisions where Stand Your Ground is established — did the gun industry lobby for those, too?”

            They sure as hell didn’t lobby the other way, did they?

          2. “I would propose that the gun industry has been too busy dealing with the heightened gun demand caused by COVID-19”

            If you need a gun to protect you from a virus, you are precisely the sort of person who should not have access to firearms.

  16. Professor Volokh,

    States are increasingly considered, and some have already passed, laws that absolve motorists who drive through protestors blocking streets from liability for deaths or injjury they cause.

    The logic would seem impeccable. If we are willing to say that being right and legally justified trumps the value of human life, if being right is worth a life so long as it’s the other guy’s, why shouldn’t stand your ground be extended to drive your path? If it’s your right of way, it’s the other guy’s problem if he doesn’t get out of the way before you mow him down.

    It’s not often you can watch the slope slipping, right in front of your eyes. People said that once the sanctity of human life lost its preeminent place in the law, things would get cruel and barbaric pretty quickly. They said killing people would become justified on pretexts that once would have been regarded as petty if not downright barbarous. They said society would lose its sense of proportion, its balance, its decency. The most volatile response, and not the most mature, would get rewarded.

    They were right.

    1. And why just protestors? If you have the right of way, why should it ever be uour duty to yield it to avoid an accident? Let them get what’s coming to them. After all, they’re in the wrong! Why should the person who’s legally in the right EVER have to yield? If you follow Stand Your Ground to its logical conclusion, you end up with a whole lot of dead people, with road rage not just having the imprimator of the law but being regarded as the correct thing to do, just like honor killing in Somalia.

      1. If you follow Stand Your Ground to its logical conclusion…

        But you’re not following SYG to anything. You’re following your own childish caricature of it.

      2. One thing to keep in mind about “Duty to Yield” is that Human Law can say one thing, but the Laws of Physics may have a different view on the matter. And by their nature, Laws of Physics trump Human Law.

        As I have recently seen it described at another random location, “As a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, or even a driver, you may be right about your Right of Way — but you’ll be dead right.”

    2. Where I come from, it’s totally justifiable to use deadly force against people who are attempting to kidnap you. That’s what surrounding a car and blocking traffic is doing.

      1. You might want to review the elements of kidnapping.

        1. As a general rule, kidnapping can be as simple as keeping someone from leaving against their will.

          It’s a major reason why you probably shouldn’t attempt a Citizen’s Arrest. If you get it wrong — and it’s very easy to get it wrong — you can set yourself up for a kidnapping conviction.

          1. You ALSO might want to review the elements of kidnapping.

            1. Why don’t you enlighten us, oh Wise One, and tell us what those elements are?

              Keep in mind that it also varies State by State, after you give us a grand overview, be sure to give us a few examples of how it might be different between States, as well.

              1. There’s this thing called Google, unless they’ve already banned you.

                1. Or consult a professional, licensed in your jurisdiction.

    3. ReaderY: my sense is that these laws are perhaps less about declaring open season on protesters than preventing another Reginald Denny case. Mr. Denny obviously had the physical capability to escape that attack. His restraint, possibly because of a fear of legal repercussions if he just drove away at 5 MPH and let the people blocking his path either move or suffer the consequences cost him dearly. He could have easily been killed.

      I commend your reverence for life, but it protesters are not just blocking a street but attacking a stopped vehicle, shouldn’t our reverence for life put at least some minimal value on the life of the person in a vehicle being attacked?

      (Protesters shouldn’t block streets, period, but if a law says ‘drivers are free to run down anyone blocking the street, even if no one is pounding on their windows, etc’, then I also would oppose such a law. But that’s a little different than ‘if a mob is trying to drag you from your car, it’s justifiable force to slowly drive away, even if members of the mob are in front of your car’)

      1. Yes, there have been a number of cases in the last year or two where protesters illegally blocked a road, stopping vehicles, and then attacked the vehicles and their occupants.

        The bottom line here is that, if you’re in a road, you are NOT entitled to block and stop cars, and if you do, the driver is entitled to assume that, after you stop him, you’re going to assault him.

        So, don’t protest on the highway, idiot.

        1. Pedestrians have right of way over motor vehicles.

          1. That’s only assuming that the pedestrians aren’t trying to attack you. Laws are being passed by States now making it explicit that if you fear a crowd of people in the street, you don’t necessarily have to stop for them.

            1. This’ll hold up until some jackass tries to run someone over, and gets shot by someone standing their ground.

    4. If we are willing to say that being right and legally justified trumps the value of human life, if being right is worth a life so long as it’s the other guy’s

      First of all, SYG is NOT predicated on anything as simple-mindedly asinine as “being right is worth a life”. It is predicated on the notion that one should be not held criminally liable for opting to use deadly force, rather than gambling life/limb on a split-second assessment of whether or not an attempt to flee the encounter would be successful, when confronted by an aggressor in a situation that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear for their safety.

      why shouldn’t stand your ground be extended to drive your path?

      That depends on whether or not whoever is blocking traffic is doing so in a manner that makes them the functional equivalent of a criminal aggressor who would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of severe bodily harm/death. For instance something like this rather well-known incident…

      Hollywood Stuntz gang assault

  17. Every person should own a shovel.

  18. Whenever a gun law, or a self defense law, for that matter, is loosened, we are promised “blood in the streets”.

    Well, we now have 38 States that are Stand Your Ground. Many of them have been this way for years. This gives us avenues to study the topic in two different angles:

    First, we can compare Stand Your Ground States to Duty to Retreat States. Is there a statistical difference between the two states with regards to murder rates, acts of self defense, and so forth?

    Second, these States have been adopting these statutes slowly, over a period of years. Is there any major difference between when these States adopted the law, and when they didn’t have it? How does this change compare to the change in the murder rate in Duty to Retreat States? How does the trend compare nationally?

    Third, are any of these comparisons statistically significant?

    You’d think that, if these laws are really as deadly as opponents say they are, we’d have some very solid data demonstrating this by now. Indeed, you’d think that States would have figured out that we’d be better off without Stand Your Ground, and would have started rounds of repealing these laws, instead of adopting them.

    The fact that what few studies exist on this are tepid at best, makes me think that these laws aren’t the End of the Civilized World As We Know It we are led to believe they are.

  19. “You’d think that, if these laws are really as deadly as opponents say they are, we’d have some very solid data demonstrating this by now.”

    Unless, say, there was some powerful party that was interested in suppressing the facts, and was acting to do so.

    1. What facts are being suppressed? What’s keeping you, personally, from collecting the data, and publishing your own conclusions?

      For all their sudden proclivities to censor viewpoints they don’t like, I somehow doubt Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, the New York Times, CNN, et al, will be the powerful parties interested in suppressing these particular facts.

      1. “What facts are being suppressed?”

        Are you conceding that facts ARE being supressed?

        ” What’s keeping you, personally, from collecting the data, and publishing your own conclusions?”

        Having better options for how to spend my time, mostly.

        1. “Are you conceding that facts ARE being supressed?”

          No, I’m not conceding that facts are being suppressed. I won’t concede that until you identify particular facts that are being suppressed. That’s the entire purpose of the question!

          “Having better options for how to spend my time, mostly.”

          So you’re conceding that, even though Stand Your Ground laws are causing blood to run in the streets, and that this flow of blood will stop if people can only see the data that unequivocally demonstrates this is indeed the case, but it’s not worth your time collect that data to stop this flow of blood? When it’s pretty clear that, among the uses of time, “hanging around Reason and arguing with idiots” is pretty high up in your priorities?

          And it doesn’t even have to be you in particular. What ever happened to “Everytown for Gun Safety” and “The Brady Campaign”, among other organizations? Isn’t it worth their time to collect this data?

          If it’s worth no one’s time to collect this data, then it’s not worth the effort to prevent Stand Your Ground laws from being passed, either.

          1. “No, I’m not conceding that facts are being suppressed. I won’t concede that until you identify particular facts that are being suppressed. That’s the entire purpose of the question!”

            You’re waiting for ME to concede that your claim is full of shit? OK, I’ll concede that.

            ” it’s pretty clear that, among the uses of time, ‘hanging around Reason and arguing with idiots’ is pretty high up in your priorities?”

            Somebody has to argue with you. It’s not like it’s at all difficult.

      2. “What facts are being suppressed? What’s keeping you, personally, from collecting the data, and publishing your own conclusions?”

        Dunno what facts are being suppressed. This is an artifact of not having access to information that is greater than whatever party might be suppressing them. I also don’t know what’s being flown out of Area 51.

    2. Unless, say, there was some powerful party that was interested in suppressing the facts, and was acting to do so.

      Did you get that from one of the flat-Earther voices in your otherwise vacant head?

      1. How do you get the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel out from under your fingernails?

        1. Sorry, I can’t help you with that one. You’ll just have to rely on experience

          1. Get out from under my fingernails.

  20. For the eight states listed as “stand your ground by court decision” what is the name of the case and when was it decided for each state? Question from a non-lawyer so I appreciate the help. Thanks!

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