When is a shot in the back justifiable?

This is a discussion on When is a shot in the back justifiable? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by reyno2ac I didn't read any of the replies...BUT I'd say it's justifiable in at least these two scenarios: 1. He's endangering someone ...

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Thread: When is a shot in the back justifiable?

  1. #46
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reyno2ac View Post
    I didn't read any of the replies...BUT

    I'd say it's justifiable in at least these two scenarios:
    1. He's endangering someone else' life
    My point was in my previous reply, that if the perp's back is facing you while threatening someone else' life, then you taking a shot may put the 'at risk' victim more at risk. Be sure of your target, and be sure of what's beyond.
    I left out #2 intentionally because that does sound sort of ridiculous (nothing personal). If he's running away and turns to fire at you periodically, then wait until the majority of a frontal profile presents itself. Justifiable and survival may not be holding hands at the time, but survival is key. Be wise in your decisions and they'll never let you down. Scenarios are rather easily played out when you're not in the situation. Thing is......not to have any preconceived notions of what you would do in any particular circumstance. Being ready only goes so far. What you expect to happen probably never will. It's going to be a surprise that demands either an action or reaction. Strategy is made in a room (or within your mind)......battlefield tactics evolve on the battlefield, and they can change very quickly. Adapting on the field of battle rules out most of the expectations and the strategies. Our day to day lives don't involve recon or a forward observer to tell us what we're in for or what to expect, nor the enemy's level of power or his numbers. Your split second decisions will last an eternity.

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  3. #47
    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xXxplosive View Post
    .....as the BG's fled my other neighbors in a gas station next door opened fire on them as they fled in a car as they saw what happened and they were armed. LEO's responded and one of the detectives after questioning my neighbors who fired at the car said.....'In the case of an armed person / BG fleeing a murder scene, it's open season as long as your firearm is legal".
    "Oh no, officer. I wasn't shooting at them, I was marking the vehicle so it could be more easily identified later."

    In all seriousness though. I'd take a shot at the back if it meant saving someone's life. If someone is pointing a gun at a store clerk I think there's a good chance I'd take the shot.

    Now if it was family, friends or my fiance... In that case, weapon or not if they're being assaulted all bets are off.
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  4. #48
    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    When is a shot in the back justifiable?
    How about:
    You come in your house and find a man in a ski mask holding a knife to your kids throat.
    You come home to find your wife beaten and being raped.
    A man in a ski mask has just swung a machete at you but you ducked. His momentum carries him around so his back is facing you.
    You find a terrorist trying to light the fuse on his underwear in a crowded mall. You don't have time to convert him.
    You hear a gunshot and run in the room to find your mother laying on the floor bleeding. A stranger is crawling out the window. Should you let him get away?

    Easy.

  5. #49
    VIP Member Array TedBeau's Avatar
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    I don’t think Michigan recognizes “Citizen’s Arrest” and even if it did, I don’t have a cape or Batman underoos so I don’t plan on yelling “Citizens Arrest” anytime soon.
    If I see a perp that is pointing a gun at a family member or a sales clerk at a store, demanding money, or threatening to kill them, and if I am sure I won’t hit them then I would consider taking the shot. If it’s in his back, so much the better because now I can take a little more time to draw and aim.
    I sure don’t plan on yelling “Hey, look over here” so I can get him to point the gun at me, then try to DATD (Draw Against The Drop).

    Michigan law says you can use deadly force to protect the life of another, there is no mention of shooting in the back. If the back is the target the BG presents then thats the shot you take.

    One more thing to consider, there is a lot of talk about needing enough penetration to reach the central nervious system. It seems to me a shot to the spinal cord from the back is going to take a lot less penetration so it's a better odds shot.

  6. #50
    Senior Member Array dripster's Avatar
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    Fleeing Felon, Escape in the 1st degree, forcible rape/sodomy, just to name a few. In NY that is.
    One more step and it's on!

  7. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKM View Post
    I've often thought this. Most states will issue a LTCF, CCW, CHL, CHP, whatever it may be to have the legal right to use deadly force to protect yourself from death or serious bodily injury. And some states, the life of another person. In PA, you're legally allowed to protect the life of another person with your firearm.

    If the BG isn't facing you, but immediate response is needed, then what? What if a shot in the back is all you have? Are you forced to try and put yourself in between the BG and your loved one, or whoever it may be?

    Naturally, I'd say, in the situation, yes, there shouldn't be any issue with it, but I can't come to a conclusion that it'd be justified in the eyes of the jury or judge. I've always had the idea a shot in the back is NEVER justified and for good reason, but in a scenario such as this, I can't see how it wouldn't be.

    Just a thought, I'd like to hear others responses.
    The answer to your question is stated in your first paragraph, USE OF DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM DEATH AND SERIOUS BODILY INJURY... and that's impossible to prove if your target is running away from you. I'm sure someone can invent a scenario to justify a shoot, like your target is running in the opposite direction from you to hit a switch to blow up a building, or your target has a knife and is running from you to stab someone else. But realistically if your confronted with a threat and the target decides to turn and run, DO NOT put a round in their BACK, you don't want to go to court and explain it.

  8. #52
    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    Hey Ted and Guns: Good points. Could not agree more with your scenarios.

  9. #53
    Senior Member Array dripster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hkchris View Post
    He kept firing and is still free. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AA_dgRdDhk

    Still a classic to this day, every once in a while I watch that video.
    One more step and it's on!

  10. #54
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    Deep fried oreos are da bomb! Had them in Vegas

    As for shooting in the back, it is legal to do so without verbal warning in WA St. I can see a few scenarios where it would be appropriate. One comes up all the time here....convenience store clerk at gunpoint...do you take the shot? If you determine clear backstop and believe bg will shoot...yes, that is a 'good shoot' legally & IMO ethically. Or in a workplace/mall shooting type situation (should you be lucky enough to be able to carry at work)....that gunman may be facing elsewhere shooting...but shooting to stop them, no matter what direction they are firing seems completely appropriate to me. And no warning. It only puts *everyone* else at risk and why give the bg a chance that he's not giving anyone else?

    Here's one that is scary and to me, might be difficult to defend to a jury: shooting an intruder in my home. I have stated here that I would not shoot an intruder if they retreated when I confronted them with my firearm. *However*, if they 'retreat' and it is not in the direction of an exit....my perspective would be that they are heading for cover and are still a threat. If they head for a bedroom door or to get behind furniture.....my ONLY safe perspective would be that they are looking for safety to turn and fire or attack. They might not even have a gun, it may be a knife but an invader in my home uninvited is a deadly threat to me *no matter what their weaponry...or none.* If they dont leave when asked, they are a deadly threat and will be treated accordingly.

    So shooting this intruder(s) in the back (heading for cover within home) would seem legitimate to me, but I am afraid a jury would not see it so.
    Fortune favors the bold.

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  11. #55
    VIP Member Array paaiyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9MMare View Post
    If they dont leave when asked, they are a deadly threat and will be treated accordingly.
    You're nicer than I am. I wouldn't give a BG in my home any warning other than the racking of a shotgun slide. If they can't get their criminal backside out the way they came in before I find them, too bad for them.
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  12. #56
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Here is the Forcescience article I mentioned earlier. I believe that it has some information pertinent to the discussion.

    http://www.forcescience.org/articles/shotinback.pdf
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  13. #57
    Distinguished Member Array kelcarry's Avatar
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    Thanks Guantes for the article; very intensive and informative. Many good answers IMO and many scenarios that justify a shot in the back, not to mention SC Code of Law 17-13-20.

  14. #58
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    when a shot in the front is justifiable.

  15. #59
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcabin View Post
    when a shot in the front is justifiable.
    LOL short and to the point and accurate in my opinion.

    Michael

  16. #60
    TVJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guns and more View Post
    How about:
    You come in your house and find a man in a ski mask holding a knife to your kids throat.
    You come home to find your wife beaten and being raped.
    A man in a ski mask has just swung a machete at you but you ducked. His momentum carries him around so his back is facing you.
    You find a terrorist trying to light the fuse on his underwear in a crowded mall. You don't have time to convert him.
    You hear a gunshot and run in the room to find your mother laying on the floor bleeding. A stranger is crawling out the window. Should you let him get away?

    Easy.

    I wonder when I shoot the perp in the back, does my corbon dpx backstop becomes my wife/kid
    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
    - Frederic Bastiat

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