? on interpretation of Florida's SYG statute...

? on interpretation of Florida's SYG statute...

This is a discussion on ? on interpretation of Florida's SYG statute... within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First- PLEASE- this is NOT to be a discussion of the current case we all know about. Hopefully, the Mods will let this move forward ...

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Thread: ? on interpretation of Florida's SYG statute...

  1. #1
    Member Array tobnpr's Avatar
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    ? on interpretation of Florida's SYG statute...

    First- PLEASE- this is NOT to be a discussion of the current case we all know about.

    Hopefully, the Mods will let this move forward as such...

    Since getting our CWP's last year, my wife and I were advised to purchase and read Jon Gutmacher's book, which we have done- cover to cover- several times.

    In totality, it seems much of the law pertaining to self defense is clear as mud, and thus the confusion and uncertainty over what's the "right" thing to do.

    I have often wondered about the following scenario...I was prompted to get my CWP because I do retail work as a contractor, often nights- and I find myself going out to my truck in the wee hours, in dark parking lots in less than desireable neighborhoods.

    So let's say- in that setting- I'm walking out to my truck at 3:00 a.m. to get a tool I need.

    A man comes out from behind a nearby dumpster and starts walking quickly towards me.

    I shout "Stay Back!" but he keeps coming, quickly closing the gap.

    If I draw my handgun, I am guilty of a felony (brandishing)- but do I do it, anyway, in hopes of defusing what I perceive to be a pending assault?

    If I wait, and he talks his way into "punching" distance, and does so- how do I react?

    I hear all this stuff about not shooting an unarmed attacker. But I don't KNOW that he's not armed, I don't KNOW that he does not intend to do great bodily harm to me, so does the law require I wait to find out?

    If he is armed, and shoots me dead, but I've done what was required under the law- that won't be much consolation to my wife and children.

    If he's not, and swings at me to start a fist-fight (let's assume he's unarmed)- do I have to wait until he sees my concealed weapon, and goes for it? Ending in a fight for control of the weapon that I might ultimately lose (and be shot dead)?

    It just seems to me, that if I'm approached in a threatening-or even a way that is uncomfortable for me- manner, even though the "attacker" and I both have a "right to be" where we are, that brandishing is the best choice. PROBLEM is, that doing so, is a felony and I get locked up for three years...but, at least I'm alive...

    Even Gutmacher (if I understand the book correctly) seems to indicate this is a really gray area...

    What would you do in that situation?


  2. #2
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    It really is a gray area, nationwide. Most of these laws are written on the principle of "reasonable fearfulness". What is reasonable to you or me may or may not seem reasonable to the police, the prosecutor, an attorney or segments of the general public.
    Chad Rogers likes this.
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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    I think the gray area is exactly why this law is such a good law.

    Much of the confusion, and I would believe that much of the OP's confusion, stems not from the law itself but rather from the hype that surrounds it. This law has been painted as a "shoot first, ask questions later" law by most of the light that continues to be shined on it, and I don't believe it is that nor was ever intended to be that.

    This law does something for Florida and the states that have a similar law that is very difficult to do: it details self-defense. This is not a law that says you can get away with things simply by claiming to stand your ground; it's a law that states if you want to claim self-defense, if you want to claim that you are standing your ground, you better fit within these guidelines. All too often the public interpretation and the public presentation of this law espouses only the shoot first ask question later take with no regard to the intent of spelling out self-defense.
    I'm in favor of gun control -- I think every citizen should have control of a gun.
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    That is one of the toughest choices one has to make (that scenario). There are so many possibilities that he is not a BG. An obnoxious begger, a drunk, a guy high on drugs but meaning no harm, a diabetic, a person with a mental disease or illness, maybe a person that was just the victim of a robbery....Now they see you pulling a gun and they are defending themselves....
    Can go south real quick either way.

    Training training training training.....not just for your firearm. H to H. Combatives. Other non lethal means to disengage. I can't stress this enough:being in the best shape you can. The better shape you are in and confident in other non lethal means (H to H) the more confident you will be in situations and may not feel the need to draw your weapon or at least delay it. In the end you might be cleared for a justifiable shooting of a person that was just disoriented.

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    Another function was to remove the burden of proof from the shooter and to require the state to prove whether the shooting was justified or not. In the scenario you presented if you were truly in fear it would still be up to the state to prove if you were justified in using lethal force.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntzu View Post
    That is one of the toughest choices one has to make (that scenario). There are so many possibilities that he is not a BG. An obnoxious begger, a drunk, a guy high on drugs but meaning no harm, a diabetic, a person with a mental disease or illness, maybe a person that was just the victim of a robbery....Now they see you pulling a gun and they are defending themselves....
    Can go south real quick either way.

    Training training training training.....not just for your firearm. H to H. Combatives. Other non lethal means to disengage. I can't stress this enough:being in the best shape you can. The better shape you are in and confident in other non lethal means (H to H) the more confident you will be in situations and may not feel the need to draw your weapon or at least delay it. In the end you might be cleared for a justifiable shooting of a person that was just disoriented.
    To the OP, the bold part....You must have more than one tool in your tool box
    rolyat63 likes this.
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    In almost any encounter, it is impossible to know the intent of the person approaching you. It isn't just the possible use of
    hands to punch or feet to kick that could occur, or the drawing of a gun on their part, the approaching party might be cribbing a knife or a screw driver. You can't keep everyone back, and you can't afford to let some get too close, and there is no way
    to know the difference between the harmless and the malicious person until they do something more than just approach.

    The defender is by definition always going to be behind the curve here.

    Even pepper isn't really an answer if you end up spraying the wrong person, or spraying someone who then denies any hostile -illegal intent. All you are left with is "I thought." "It appeared to me." Pretty thin defenses.

    I think too your scenario, is quite unlike the M-Z case so I too hope folks stay on your topic.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
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    VIP Member Array xXxplosive's Avatar
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    Panhandlers usually close the distance before the begging begins.....usually when they hear the word "NO".....they get disgruntled.
    Now that he is just a few feet away...what's the defense against a knife other than H to H.....?
    The idea is to create distance..............not to let him close on you......keep moving.....if you need to draw....then draw.
    Hopyard likes this.

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    Excellent question's and comments. I have to say in this lib state of WI it concerns me when I think about it. I also thought about buying pepper spray and a knife for less lethal defense. I watch "Best Defense" on TV but being older and a soft retired banker hand to hand seems to have passed me by. I am also confused on what I could or should do. I hope never to find out but must admit I feel much safer when I CC my CM9.
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    A non lethal option such as pepper spray is ALWAYS the better option in a gray area such as the one described.

    If you don't see a weapon, but the person doesn't stop, and is acting in a " menacing " manner, the spray allows you to keep the subject away. Immediately after spraying, move to a safe distance, and call 911, and advice them of the menacing, threatening behavior, and your action to protect yourself.

    It's all in the wording, being the first to call, and your ability to articulate your actions.

    It beats the hell out of killing someone and trying to explain why you used that level without any physical contact or presence of weapons on the perp.
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    While Glockman is spot on, the defender always has the problem that almost anything he does in terms of
    pepper or H2H will be construed as assault unless the panhandler has a long arrest list to back up the defender's claims
    of intimidating behavior.

    If it turns out you were only dealing with an aggressive panhandler who actually has no record beyond
    a history of homelessness and vagrancy, you end up on the wrong end of the stick.

    The advantage always is with the attacker, and that is just a sad fact of life that I see no way around in a
    civil society.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
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  13. #13
    Member Array tobnpr's Avatar
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    Thanks guys- great responses, including being "up" on non-lethal defenses.

    I used to train in martial arts, it's time I went back over "stuff"- we did study disarming attackers, and I've neglected training in that area. Great suggestion...

    My "scenario" was actually prompted by a less menacing incident recently, that happened in the middle of the day, in a K-Mart parking lot... the area of Florida I live in has been hit particularly bad by the recession...and I was approached by a panhandler as I got to my truck.

    The guy did not look menacing, and as I said- it was the middle of the afternoon. He began walking towards me- and as he got to the area of the tailgate of my truck- maybe six feet from me- I held up my right hand, as in "hold up" or "stop". He got the message, and did so. He was just looking for bus fare (or drug money, who knows) to get home...

    But you never know.

    Again, the suggestions for non-lethal defenses are great. Anything to prevent the individual from closing the gap. In this day and age, if approached by someone you don't know, I don't see a problem with being considered rude by simply warning them to keep a distance. I'll get my wife and myself pepper spray...

    It's a damn shame, but I believe it's a reflection of the times we live in.

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array REVMAN's Avatar
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    It's the same thing a LEO faces if someone continues to come toward him in a threating manner.....and pretty much any leo would shoot if the person continues to approach after the warning.
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  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array Stubborn's Avatar
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    You / we need to keep the "21 foot rule" in mind as well.

    OPSGEAR® TACTICAL TIP: Dennis Tueller's 21-Foot Rule Against a Knife Attack - YouTube
    "The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it".
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