SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News)- To shoot or not to shoot? What should you do when protecting your family and property?
Some people have been asking that question since a homeowner in Kearns shot and killed a person trying to get into his home earlier this week. Now, ABC 4 is taking action to find out what the law says when it comes to using a gun.
Attorney Mitch Vilos says the law is on the side of the homeowner. "Look, if it's an unlawful entry, violent entry or stealthy entry, the law presumes that you are acting legally you are justified in using deadly force and deadly force means you can use a gun. It's that simple.”
He believes that Utah lawmakers want people to be self-reliant when it comes to protecting their home and their families.
"They wanted to put the burden of dying on the unlawful intruder not on the homeowner or his family. If your going to break into someone's home at 3 a.m. you have the burden of dying... not the homeowner."
It’s not just home invasion that protects homeowners. The law says that people are justified in using deadly force to prevent death, prevent serious bodily injury, and to stop a forceable felony, like a carjacking, rape, or kidnapping.
Vilos says it’s a complex issue. "What I would say to anybody who has a weapon whether they carry concealed or in their home is, you need to know the rules, and the rules are not simple."
For example, you cannot use deadly force to protect property. If someone is trying to steal your car you call the police. If you have a child in the car you can pull the trigger.
At the OPSGEAR urban training center law enforcement, military, and now even civilians, come and get training.
They're placed in life and death situations where they have to make split second decisions.
Being on the range with instructor Dave Burnell is intimidating and can be stressful. He's trying to simulate the pressure of live fire situation and, he says, that's the point.
"Statistics show that in an actual firefight you take your highest level of training, knock it down by 50% and at best that's where you are going to perform."
There are a lot of guns in Utah. Hundreds of thousands of people have concealed permits.
Mitch Vilos thinks that guns combined with training equals greater safety.
"You just don't break into a home in the western states or the southern states because it's dangerous. If you want a safe place to work and you're a home burglar go to Washington DC.