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Old March 6th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Default PA. Law on the use of deadly force

I was wondering what the law on the use of deadly force was in our fine state ?? i've read a few things and it's all legal mumbo-jumbo..... In laymans terms... what do we as citizens have to go thru before we can use deadly force to protect ourselves... our property or our loved ones ??
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:19 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

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Originally Posted by snipers215 View Post
I was wondering what the law on the use of deadly force was in our fine state ?? i've read a few things and it's all legal mumbo-jumbo..... In laymans terms... what do we as citizens have to go thru before we can use deadly force to protect ourselves... our property or our loved ones ??
Note that IANAL, and sometimes the law forces things to be more complicated than we'd like, but I'll try to boil it down for you. Note that the following is specific to PA and doesn't necessarily apply elsewhere, as each state has their own use of force laws:

If you're NOT at home:
- You MUST retreat from a threat prior to using deadly force if at all possible.
- Deadly force is only permissible when employed to prevent or stop serious bodily injury, death, rape, or kidnapping.
- In such cases where a crime is already underway against another person (for example, you see a woman being attacked/raped or a child being kidnapped), you do not need to retreat, as doing so could cause further injury and/or death to the victim.

If you're at home:
- You have NO duty to retreat from your own home.
- Deadly force is only permissible when employed to prevent or stop serious bodily injury, death, rape, or kidnapping.

In both cases:
- You do NOT have the right to use deadly force to protect possessions. You can not kill someone to prevent them from stealing your car, jewelry, etc.
- While I don't believe there's anything in the law specifically stating it, threat escalation rules apply. If you just walk up to a guy attacking a woman and shoot him without attempting to employ non-lethal methods first (like yelling at him to stop, for example), it's likely you'll end up in court.
- Even if the use of deadly force is considered justified, and you're cleared of criminal charges or charges are not filed, you can still be sued in civil court by the person or the estate of the person you shot.

Clear as mud, right?

Seriously, I hope this helps. I'm sure that if anything isn't 100% accurate, others will chime in and correct/flame me. Also realize that while people here are pretty knowledgeable of the law, there's no substitute for a legal consultation if you'd like a professional opinion.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

PA's use of force laws can be found here:

http://www.acslpa.org/pa_uniform_firearms_act.htm

be sure to note whether each section is talking about *force* or *deadly force*...there is a special section for deadly force:

Quote:
(2) The use of deadly force is not justifiable under this section unless the actor believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat; nor is it justifiable if:

(i) the actor, with the intent of causing death or serious bodily injury, provoked the use of force against himself in the same encounter; or

(ii) the actor knows that he can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety by retreating or by surrendering possession of a thing to a person asserting a claim of right thereto or by complying with a demand that he abstain from any action which he has no duty to take, except that:

(A) the actor is not obliged to retreat from his dwelling or place of work, unless he was the initial aggressor or is assailed in his place of work by another person whose place of work the actor knows it to be; and

(B) a public officer justified in using force in the performance of his duties or a person justified in using force in his assistance or a person justified in using force in making an arrest or preventing an escape is not obliged to desist from efforts to perform such duty, effect such arrest or prevent such escape because of resistance or threatened resistance by or on behalf of the person against whom such action is directed.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

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Originally Posted by ChamberedRound View Post
- You MUST retreat from a threat prior to using deadly force if at all possible.
actually the standard is "with complete safety" rather than if at all possible.

in other words, if "i might be able to escape without being harmed, but might not be able to", you do not have to take the chance according to what the law actually says.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

i have to add this,
a couple months ago i was at home shooting at my own little range. when my wife with came out and said someone had just called a threatend that if i didn't stop all the noise , they would come over and stop it for me. i asked her who it was and she said they wouldn't tell her. so i thought i would flush them out, i bump fired 2 full 30rders down range. well not 2 seconds later the phone rang. it was the same person, i asked who it was and he told me not to f-ing worry about who it was and if i like guns so much he would bring his gun over. and if he has to come over i was going to have a real bad day. then he hung up. so i call the psp, i ask to talk to the super on duty, i tell him what is going on and ask what i should do. he said that since the guy did not actually threaten me with some sort of bodily harm there is nothing that they can do. but if he comes to my house with a gun, i should go ahead and shoot him. i was a little surprised and said yeah right like i want to spend 5+ years in jail. the ood said that if i actually shoot him, it would be up to the da to press charges, and if it went to trial that they would pull my phone records and see that this guy may have threatend me. and 99.9 percent chance tha this would get thrown out of court.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

oh, i eventually did find out who it was. he had a lyer draw up a letter, that said if i did not stop shooting within the township limits that they would petition to have me removed from the twp. i took that letter to the next twp meeting, along with a copy of the twp ordinances that have no mention of a shooting or nuisance ordinance. the twp council, said that i was in the ok and not to worry about one upset person. they actualy sent their codes guy out with a permit app, for me to fill out. and they granted me an occupancy permit to operate a firing range.

the moral of this story is that the psp told me just to shoot the guy if he came on my property with a gun.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

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Originally Posted by snipers215 View Post
I was wondering what the law on the use of deadly force was in our fine state ?? i've read a few things and it's all legal mumbo-jumbo..... In laymans terms... what do we as citizens have to go thru before we can use deadly force to protect ourselves... our property or our loved ones ??
Go to school.

You have Phillip Kline out your way and we're doing something similar in Pittsburgh this year.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

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Originally Posted by TonyF View Post
Go to school.

You have Phillip Kline out your way and we're doing something similar in Pittsburgh this year.
Yeah, I wish I could make those seminars. I hope we get some information from him on the TBDs at Easton F&G, I want to attend from beginning to end.
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Old March 6th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

Who's phillip kline ??
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Old March 6th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: PA. Law on the use of deadly force

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Who's phillip kline ??
Who's phillip kline?
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