Unarmed mugger goes for my gun; justified to shoot?

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Thread: Unarmed mugger goes for my gun; justified to shoot?

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    Member Array finnman1's Avatar
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    Exclamation Unarmed mugger goes for my gun; justified to shoot?

    Preparing for concealed carry, I ponder the scenarios in which a shooting would be inevitable. In prior textbook (college) police training, I was advised by two different City Police Officer part-time instructors that if they felt they would black out during a fist fight, and that the perp would have the ability to execute them with their service pistol, then deadly force was authorized at that point.

    Now, I ponder, if I'm out for a jog and a dirthead mugger decides it would be a good idea to attempt an unarmed mugging by physical force only (I'm a smaller guy and partially disabled but lets not bring that variable into the discussion please), then I wonder at what point, if any, would I be justified in using deadly force against him if he's grabbing for my gun during my resisting the physical attack...

    Am I safe in assuming that he will be using it on me if he gets it? Maybe he wants to only steal it and run away with it and my wallet? Let's say that he doesn't state anything to the effect that he intends to kill me.

    Something tells me it would be a long day ahead when trying to convince the responding LEOs that it was a self defense shooting when the guy was unarmed. With no real evidence of the attacker having a weapon, and only my word of him trying to use my gun against myself once he had found out about it, I wonder if I'd be facing a criminal trial in this scenario.

    Iowa's law defines "reasonable force as that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss.” It says that can include deadly force “if it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one's life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat.” You can use reasonable force, including deadly force, even if retreat is possible, if retreat would risk your life or safety, or the life or safety of a third party, or would force you to leave your home or workplace."

    To my knowledge, Iowa is NOT a 'stand your ground' abiding state.

    Any feedback and thoughtful discussion is more than welcomed. I charge everyone to be wary of using rhetoric or general attitudes. We are talking about a possible Murder charge vs an innocent life being taken if he is sucessfull in disarming one of us.

    Chris

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    Member Array pfries's Avatar
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    My personal thoughts
    once the BG goes for your gun you have reason to fear for your life, the first time his/her hand touches your sidearm they are no longer unarmed.
    Would you be charged in Iowa for struggling with an attacker and them getting shot with their own gun?

    I would tend to think although IANAL that the reasonable man concept would apply.
    If the belief of the immediate threat of death or severe bodily injury is not over neither is your right to self-defense. I
    f they attempted to get my side arm and did not succeed, then turned to run away I do not believe I would shoot.

    If during the struggle for my sidearm I regained control of my weapon and we were still actively engaged,
    I would shoot when I could as the intent is clear, they mean to take my weapon by force and I would be in fear for my life.

    My two cents.
    Pat
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    Member Array finnman1's Avatar
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    Thanks Pat.

    I fear that a lack of substancial evidence of the attackers intentions would lead to a temporary incarceration and ultimately me losing my job if this particular scenario would play out.

    I mean, there's no real solid proof, outside of a nearby business CCTV proving that he was actually attacking me. i.e.. LEO believing it was me murdering him and providing a cheap cover story.

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    To the OP it is called disparity of force the attacker need not be armed to put you in fear for your life. The attackers size, strength, training all come into play.
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    Yes it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by finnman1 View Post
    I fear that a lack of substancial evidence of the attackers intentions would lead to a temporary incarceration and ultimately me losing my job if this particular scenario would play out.
    How does that outcome compare to the possible alternative that the mugger kills you with your own gun?

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    If you shoot someone under any circumstances, there is a high degree of likelihood that you will be detained, questioned and even jailed. The questions you ask here should probably be directed to a gun lawyer whom you trust.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

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    Welcome to the group finnman1 and kudos to you for deciding to be a responsibly armed citizen.
    I would STRONGLY suggest you purchase and read the book "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob. While a few things in the book are a little dated, the concepts that make up the core of the book are right on the mark. This is mandatory reading for anyone I introduce to CCW.

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    You didn't say how he knew I was carrying? Is this an OC or is it CC?

    I think this comes down to whether or not I am prepared to use a gun for self defense. I won't have time to do an internal debate about the outcome when that moment arrives. It comes down to when I feel that my life is in danger. This will be different for each person.

    I trained in martial arts many years ago for the purpose of self defense. The point at which I feel threatened is obviously going to be different than someone elses. And the gun I carry is carefully concealed as required by law and personal attention. I am prepared, through training, not to 'expose' my weapon in a physical altercation. It is my intention that the only exposure of my gun is when it is drawn for self defense. However, it is sometimes unavoidable in a physical altercation.

    Now, if at some point the BG does make a struggle to obtain my weapon and I am in fear that he will do so and I feel I can't stop him then at that point I am in fear for my life. The BG isn't backing down, he is over-powering me, he's after my gun, and I have no other option. Perforate the BG and if LEO doesn't believe me at least I am alive and telling my side of the story.
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    The challenge when carrying is knowing each state's ever changing laws with respect to carrying and justifiable use of deadly force. In the end I've chosen to not worry about what is and is not justified but instead always be prepared if the need arises in which I am in reasonable fear for my life.

    If I were to be in a case of having to defend my actions as being reasonably justified under the law I know two things: First, I am alive (my family, friends may be as well) and if I had not acted otherwise I might not be. Second, I am going to have my guilt or innocence by a jury. It matters not what the prosecutor does because in the end it would come down to those 12 men and women.

    I hope to never have to be in a position to go before 12 men and women determining guilt or innocence but carrying is much like having car insurance. I don't ever hope to make a claim but I'm glad to know it is there in case I need to.

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    No, you have to let him beat the snot out of you. And don't forget that you and that prosecutor are not "reasonable" people, only the folks sitting in the jury box.

    He's trying to get your gun, trying to arm himself, trying to use force greater than what you would have (as in deadly). Make a decision; live with the consequences. With emphasis on the "live" part.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finnman1 View Post
    Unarmed mugger goes for my gun; justified to shoot?
    How do you know the mugger is unarmed? You're being mugged, for crying out loud. The apparent intent is to incapacitate you, then rob you of what you've got ... if not kill you, in the course of it all.

    All that's known at the point of not having seen any weapons is: he's currently using physical force only. Which restricts the actions you're lawfully allowed in many states, given how the things are worded.

    As some have mentioned, legitimate and reasonable fear of impending death or serious harm justifies whatever defense you deem needs to be presented in order to survive what's happening to you ... apparently-unarmed or not. Being armed isn't the point. The legitimacy of the severity of the threat to your life is.

    ... would I be justified in using deadly force against him if he's grabbing for my gun during my resisting the physical attack...
    Ah, well, at THAT point, your attacker is manifesting intent to use lethal force against you. Thinking otherwise at that moment could easily get you killed. Damned right, you're justified at that moment to fear you're moments from being murdered by your own gun.

    Am I safe in assuming that he will be using it on me if he gets it?
    Frankly, only a person willing to gamble everything in this life would assume otherwise. Translation: idiocy, to do so.

    Maybe he wants to ...
    You willing to bet your life on that?

    Think about it. There really isn't anything else to consider, at this point. Because, quite possibly, and very probably, you're about to find out how extraordinarily mistaken you were to assume he's just wanting to steal your metal and plastic stuff.

    ... only steal it and run away with it and my wallet?
    And the physical address on your DL/cards ... that'll point him/them directly to your loved ones ... right? You willing to bet their lives on that?

    Something tells me it would be a long day ahead when trying to convince the responding LEOs that it was a self defense shooting when the guy was unarmed.
    Yeah, without a truly stiff Stand Your Ground set of statutes that are clear and unambiguous, ANY successful resistance of a deadly attack, but most particularly any resistance of an attack in which it's not obvious the attacker HAD actually attempted and been cable of deadly force, is likely to result in a very bad day.

    But then, ask yourself this: what are you prepared to do in order to survive an immediate and active deadly threat to your life or the lives of your loved ones? Financial devastation and being socially outcast could ensue, sure. But you'll be alive. There's the line to walk, isn't it? It's why those of us in SYG states generally cherish those protections against the mentality of "closing the case / catching the claimed BG" that seems so prevalent. Without decent SYG protections, you're risking a lot. Better be darned sure your life is indeed at reasonable risk of loss; but, if it is, then hesitating could get you killed.

    Here's a decent (video) summary of Stand Your Ground statutes, including a description of a situation in Iowa from 2011: click. Worth watching.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; August 29th, 2012 at 01:42 AM. Reason: spelling, grammar, clarification
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    Member Array hoghunter84's Avatar
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    In my opinion if anyone comes at you in an aggressive manner, in a place you are allowed to be, then by all means use your weapon to stop the threat. It doesn't matter if he's armed or not.
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    The internet is not a good place for obtaining legal advice, you'll get more bad advice than good.
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    Ex Member Array ArmyMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by finnman1 View Post
    Thanks Pat.

    I fear that a lack of substancial evidence of the attackers intentions would lead to a temporary incarceration and ultimately me losing my job if this particular scenario would play out.

    I mean, there's no real solid proof, outside of a nearby business CCTV proving that he was actually attacking me. i.e.. LEO believing it was me murdering him and providing a cheap cover story.
    I hope you're never in that situation. If you do find yourself in such a fight, I hope the perp leaves a finger print on your weapon and a powder residue consistent with a close struggle.

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