Defending others under attack?

This is a discussion on Defending others under attack? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; First, I live in the great state of Tennessee. I have a question and I can't exactly find it in the TN gun laws. My ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array tomhuskey's Avatar
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    Defending others under attack?

    First, I live in the great state of Tennessee. I have a question and I can't exactly find it in the TN gun laws. My mother-in-law, not pro gun by the way :(, asked me if I saw a man holding a lady at gunpoint in a parking lot and was kidnapping her child at gunpoint, would I shoot him if I had a safe shot. My first instinct is yes, but I worry about crossing the line into LEO space, and when it's best not to intervene. Are we covered to use deadly force only when we (family included) are the ones being threatened? Or can we use it if someone opens fire in public, or in a situation like I described earlier?

    Please let me know what you think. I'm a proud gun carrier, but very conscientious of staying inside the law.

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    Distinguished Member Array Burns's Avatar
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    EDIT: Not touching this with a 10 foot pole.
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    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable- JFK

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    Array Mike1956's Avatar
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    Variations of this hypothetical get argued regularly here, with opinions running the entire spectrum of possible reactions.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

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    Senior Member Array sdprof's Avatar
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    I would hazard a guess that most states' laws allow for use of deadly force to prevent a violent felony in progress. But defense of a third party can be a tricky thing - you better be darn sure of the situation, and your state's laws.
    ~~~~~
    The only common sense gun legislation was written about 224 years ago.

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    Member Array thephanatik's Avatar
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    Interjecting yourself into any situation where you don't know the details can turn out badly. What you think is happening in your scenario could actually be a father taking his child from a woman who was trying to kidnap the child. We can play what-ifs all night, but the general rule of thumb I follow, don't involve a gun unless someone is trying to kill your or your own. There are plenty of things you can do in this scenario without shooting the man. Call 911 immediately, don't let the man out of your sight, get a license plate number. I personally would follow him in my car if he left, continuing to give updates to the dispatcher.
    Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation. - Rule #23 in the USMC rules for gunfighting.

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    Distinguished Member Array Burns's Avatar
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    EDIT: Not touching this with a 10 foot pole.
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable- JFK

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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    To put it bluntly, if you jump into a situation that does not concern you directly, you had by God better know exactly what you are doing. Especially if you have a gun. And chances are, you won't know what you are doing. Call the cops, and let them handle it. Any lawyer worth his salt will easily convince an unsavvy jury that you were looking for a reason to act like a cop and unhook the whole bundle of lead, and so you acted in a precipitous manner. Bang, you are now either imprisoned or destitute.

    Call the cops. Be a good witness. Your gun is for you and yours. Yes, I know it seems cowardice. It sucks. Thank the lawyers. But, in all honesty, it would be a judgement call. By you. So you better be right.

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    Member Array John123's Avatar
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    I've matured quite a bit on this topic now that I've been carrying for a few years. I used to be in the "destroy evil at every turn, I'm going to save the world single handedly if I must" crowd, but now with a wife and kids, along with a more sensible head on my shoulders, I've become part of the "protect me and mine" crowd. For everyone else I will be a good witness, call 911 and only intervene when there is IMMANENT life threatening danger to a blatantly obvious innocent.

    My reasoning is simple: in real life you never have all the facts and you can't take back rounds you've already sent downrange.

    For example: in the OPs scenario above, the reader omnipotently knows that the child is the females and that the gun wielding male is the kidnapper. In reality there is no way to know that if someone just happened across that scenario in a parking lot...

    What if, for instance, a woman desperate for a child kidnapped my little girl, and I was able to catch up to her as she's trying to force her into a car? What if she's threatening to snap my little girls neck if I don't let her go? I would certainly have cleared leather by that point, my weapon clearly visible... Then BAM!!! Johnny B Do-Good shoots me in the head, she speeds off, my daughter is kidnapped and Jonny B Good is in jail.

    Think it's far fetched? Women kidnap children all the time, one just recently in the news. That kidnapping female even shot and killed the rightful mother. My point is this: you never really know unless it's You and Yours. In your given scenario I would suggest immediately calling 911 and follow the child until the police arrive to sort it out.

    Remember, just because there's a guy with a gun doesn't mean it's a bad guy. It could even be you!
    tcox4freedom, Mudgen and archer51 like this.

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    Senior Member Array Inspector71's Avatar
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    That would have been a great question to ask your instructor during your HCP class. Here you will get a multitude of responses from all across this great country and who is to say who's right and who's wrong? Legal questions should be directed to legal beagles. A good source for you would be TGO as there are various Tennessee attorneys posting there. Good luck!
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    Member Array thephanatik's Avatar
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    But even if the woman was kidnapping "his" daughter, then why would he need a gun to stop her?
    If she has a weapon he didn't see.


    what if that was you with a gun to your head with your child being kidnapped, would you not want anyone to intervene?
    On the flip side, if I was the one holding the gun trying to get my child back from a woman threatening to kill my child, I wouldn't want someone to shoot me.


    I'm not trained in law enforcement and I have no intention of trying to do their job. I also am not protected from civil/criminal suits like police are while performing their duties.
    John123 likes this.
    Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation. - Rule #23 in the USMC rules for gunfighting.

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    Member Array JustinApple's Avatar
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    I live in Texas where you can by law defend a "third party" But I agree with "John123" you don't know all the factors in a situation like that, or others. Both me and my wife carry, we go through different scenarios "mentally" and put as many as we can to the test on the range. You would be surprised at the poor outcome of most of them, someone always gets hurt, things damaged, it doesn't turn out like you think.. Protect your own, be a good witness, get descriptions, plates, ect. And call 911

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    Distinguished Member Array Burns's Avatar
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    EDIT: Not touching this with a 10 foot pole.
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable- JFK

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    Senior Member Array Fausty's Avatar
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    cwp does not equal police badge. call the cops, follow if necessary, stay on the phone, stay out of prison.
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    Glock 23, mic holster, clipdraw, abdominal carry.

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    Member Array wstrnrdr53's Avatar
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    Also from Great State of Tennessee. Tn Hcp [ Handgun Carry Permit ] does allow for defense of third party, under immonent threat of death or bodily harm. Again much discussion has been kicked about as to the practicality of such intervention. I would only step up if could ascertain circumstances and the immonent threat of death, otherwise 911 and best witness I could be. As HCP holders, we are not enforcers of law.

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    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    just a note: every one wants to help but if and when you do I might cost YOU everything

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