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CHL Question

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by Graffin, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. Graffin

    Graffin Oregon Member

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    This may be a stupid question, but it's something I've wondered about quite a bit since getting my CHL.

    I understand that I should never draw my weapon unless I'm planning to use it, and I should only use it when the threat of deadly force or actual deadly force exists, but what about if a guy comes at me, obviously threatening physical violence?

    I mean a person, obviously angry and moving in to start a fight. Am I supposed to let him close and attack me and potentially wrestle my gun away? At what point does it become okay to draw your weapon just to discourage someone like this? Is it ever?
     
  2. USMC1345

    USMC1345 Gresham, OR Member

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    Regardless of what ANYONE says, for me it is as soon as I have a genuine fear that my life is in immediate danger. This includes situations when the threatening person has not presented any weapon.

    I have been in one situation where I have drawn but not fired. I was in my vehicle in a situation where just driving off was not an option. Some crazy man came up to my window yelling that he's going to kill me. I called 911 and explained what was happening. When the guy began pounding on the window saying I was a dead man if he could get into my vehicle, I got my pistol and a mag from the compartment under my seat, and got the gun ready to fire. The man asked if I was going to shoot him, I said yes, if he breaks the window. That's when the 911 operator confirmed that I did have a gun, and told me not to shoot. In the two seconds it took for the 911 operator ask if I had a gun, and then say not to shoot anyone, the man decided it wasn't worth his life, and walked off.

    By the time police arrived, the guy was long gone. I explained the situation the best I could, and turned over my now empty pistol to the officer that asked for it. (About 8 cops showed up.) This happened in WA, long before I had a WA CPL. The main officer explained a pile of possible charges I could face, and finished by saying, with no victim (meaning the crazy guy) there could be no charges related to pointing the firearm at him. Never ONCE did ANY of the officers even hint that I could be in trouble for having the weapon, or having a loaded gun on me. This happened on a Sunday, and I was givena business card with a phone number to call the next day to find out where my weapon would be released from. It was released for me to pick up the next day. The officer explained that they were taking it in case the guy called and made a complaint about me. That would make the weapon evidence.

    I realize that I may have dealt with the 8 or so most laid back cops in WA, and things could have really gone sideways in a hurry. I was very lucky things went the way they did. I DO NOT recommend talking to police any more than is absolutely necessary, whether or not shots are fired.

    Just to recap my answer: draw when you fear you will be taking your last breath if you do not draw.
     
  3. USMC1345

    USMC1345 Gresham, OR Member

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    Oops. Double tap.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  4. atypicalparkie

    atypicalparkie sowfeast poetland, ohraygun Member

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    Hey Graffin, there aren't any stupid questions when it comes to defending your life or the lives of people you care about :thumbup:.

    I'm totally with USMC1345, if you genuinely fear that your life is in immediate danger, I'd draw. And that certainly calls for clear headed thinking, i.e. nothing in your system that could affect your judgement, etc. Regardless of the situation, if we draw on somebody in public, we'll probably be scrutinized from every angle by LEO's (who're just doing what is expected of them) and maybe a DA, depending on what goes down...

    I'm no saint, but since I've been carrying I don't touch alcohol when I'm in public & carrying. There's a lot of things to think about starting now (and it's clear you're doing that, by asking questions).

    Questions like: if it's an out in the open, public area and God forbid you must shoot to protect your life, can you get into position with a solid backstop to avoid a miss hitting an innocent bystander? There might not be time, that's true. Is the freak threatening you drunk/high/mentally impaired/have buddies backing them up? 'Cos if you draw, you may well have only a split second to decide whether or not to fire. If you do draw, you may well have to fire to avoid having your gun taken by the BG. We all have to prepare ourselves mentally for the possibility of shooting another human being, maybe ending their life. As civilians legally carrying, that takes us back to scrutiny from DA's, etc.

    And even a 100% justified shooting is not easy on a person's conscience. Most of us likely know people who've been in the Armed Forces or LEO's who've had no choice but to end a life, and the pertinent few I know have understandably struggled with it to varying extents.

    Thank God USMC1345 was in his vehicle when his situation went down, he was cool headed and his reaction seems 100% correct. His response is something I'll take as advice to thoroughly internalize. I'd bet his response comes down (at least in part) to his USMC training. I'm sure 99.999% of us who carry (obv. you and USMC1345 are included in that!)aren't pararnoid, or looking for an excuse to ventilate somebody, we all want to do what's right. But one benefit of EDC is that it sure changes your situational awareness in a good way, I know it has for me.

    If we think about possible scenarios before they occur, it definitely gives us a huge advantage if an ugly scene crosses our path. SO, short answer--(from me? hah! :rolleyes:) if I feel that my life or the lives of my loved ones are in immediate danger of being ended, I'm most likely going to draw & will fire if I have no other choice. To paraphrase a common quote, I'd rather be judged by 12 than have a loved one or myself carried by 6...
     
  5. Graffin

    Graffin Oregon Member

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    Thank you both for your well thought out responses.

    What I'm gathering, then, is that it is definitely appropriate to draw when your life is threatened, but what about when you're pretty sure you're just going to take a punch? You can't know for sure that a BG will stop at that, but it's not exactly life-threatening, either.

    I'd gladly take a punch rather than mistakenly shoot someone without intent to do me serious harm, but where do you draw the line? How do you know?

    I'm just curious. I know it's illegal to threaten someone with a gun, and I get that doing so might unnecessarily escalate a situation, I'm just wondering when (if ever) it's appropriate to draw just to show your intention to defend yourself if necessary.

    To put it another way, what about if you catch someone breaking into your car? Your life is not in danger, yet I've seen more than one episode of cops (maybe not the best program to draw legal advice from, but it's at least filled with realistic scenarios) where a gun owner has held a suspect at gunpoint until police arrive. Is this ever actually technically legal (in Oregon, anyway)?

    I definitely get the black and white aspect of carrying a firearm (only fire to protect life from imminent danger) but I'm just curious about this grey area...
     
  6. USMC1345

    USMC1345 Gresham, OR Member

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    Let me give a little background on myself, then I'll try to address the 'grey areas.' I'm 29. I've had a chl and been carrying daily since February '03. My wife and I have been together since '02. We have 4 kids. I was in the USMC Reserves '01-'07. Voluntarily deployed for one tour in Iraq. She is a non-practicing paralegal. Those facts, along with countless hours discussing all aspects of life, are what determines when 'I' draw to defend myself. We also have financial resources available to put up a decent fight in court if need be.

    By definition there are no specific laws for grey areas, or else they wouldn't be grey. This is where studying case law is beneficial. Your first example - someone breaking into your car - I'm pretty sure drawing in that case would not be legal in Oregon. Not something I would do. Even if it is legal, by the time the scenario is described to a DA, your story could be so distorted that the DA hears you were out there trying to shake down your crack dealer and you threatened to kill his family. Now you're court/jail trying to prove your innocence.

    Your second example - you think you are about to take a punch - not me. If I did nothing to deserve the punch, I'm not voluntarily taking one. One well placed punch could easily take me out of the fight. I am man enough to admit that. And since I know that is a possiblility, I will not let it happen. I may not see it coming, but if I do, there will be shots fired. End of story. This goes WAY beyond protecting myself, because he could get my gun and use it on others. I'll die fighting or get locked up before I LET that happen.

    The best thing you can do is study laws and case law a few minutes a week as part of your traning. And just go over all imaginable scenarios in your head and try to have a basic plan for each. Remember, nobody 'wins' a gunfight. Be aware and avoid situations when you can. Like I said before, I am married with children, and my goal is go home to them everyday. I will draw (and fire) first, and explain to police or judge/jury if necessary. I don't think there is any real 'right' answer to your questions. Go with your instinct, it's there to keep you alive.
     
  7. atypicalparkie

    atypicalparkie sowfeast poetland, ohraygun Member

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    Well said, USMC1345. It would seem (yes indeed I'm pre-supposing a lot) that if you see somebody trying to break into your car, a forceful "HEY ********, get the **** away from my car" or similar would end the scenario. In more severe situations, I'm with '1345 again, not least of all since I have Parkinson's and walk slowwwwwly with a cane. I'd much rather bonk somebody with my solid ebony cane than draw, but I really don't know that I'd be quick enough to accomplish anything except having it grabbed away from me (I use the cane in my most affected hand, which is opposite of my shooting hand). And heck that in itself-- if an attempted cane swing got it taken from me-- could escalate a threat 100000%. It wouldn't take much of a punch to throw me off balance & put me on the ground, not to mention just putting me out, period.

    Reading up on the law + instinct= our best guidance. I know the pertinent laws for Oregon have been listed here somewhere.... I'll see if I can find the info & post links. But I bet somebody here will get links up before I do:thumbup:
     
  8. atypicalparkie

    atypicalparkie sowfeast poetland, ohraygun Member

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    Hey Graffin-- here are some relevant portions of the Oregon laws... you might wanna go to the link to see the rest that I omitted, but what I've posted here is straight cut & paste, I didn't edit or change anything. SOURCE: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/161.html

    161.209 Use of physical force in defense of a person. Except as provided in ORS 161.215 and 161.219, a person is justified in using physical force upon another person for self-defense or to defend a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force, and the person may use a degree of force which the person reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. [1971 c.743 §22]

    161.210 [Repealed by 1971 c.743 §432]

    161.215 Limitations on use of physical force in defense of a person. Notwithstanding ORS 161.209, a person is not justified in using physical force upon another person if:
    (1) With intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, the person provokes the use of unlawful physical force by that person; or
    (2) The person is the initial aggressor, except that the use of physical force upon another person under such circumstances is justifiable if the person withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person the intent to do so, but the latter nevertheless continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful physical force; or
    (3) The physical force involved is the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law. [1971 c.743 §24]

    161.219 Limitations on use of deadly physical force in defense of a person. Notwithstanding the provisions of ORS 161.209, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person unless the person reasonably believes that the other person is:
    (1) Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person; or
    (2) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary in a dwelling; or
    (3) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against a person. [1971 c.743 §23]

    161.220 [Repealed by 1971 c.743 §432]

    161.225 Use of physical force in defense of premises. (1) A person in lawful possession or control of premises is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate what the person reasonably believes to be the commission or attempted commission of a criminal trespass by the other person in or upon the premises.
    (2) A person may use deadly physical force under the circumstances set forth in subsection (1) of this section only:
    (a) In defense of a person as provided in ORS 161.219; or
    (b) When the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent the commission of arson or a felony by force and violence by the trespasser.
    (3) As used in subsection (1) and subsection (2)(a) of this section, “premises” includes any building as defined in ORS 164.205 and any real property. As used in subsection (2)(b) of this section, “premises” includes any building. [1971 c.743 §25]

    161.229 Use of physical force in defense of property. A person is justified in using physical force, other than deadly physical force, upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it to be necessary to prevent or terminate the commission or attempted commission by the other person of theft or criminal mischief of property. [1971 c.743 §26]
     
  9. Graffin

    Graffin Oregon Member

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    Thanks for the info. That's an interesting read, for sure.

    Assault is a felony, right? So if someone were threatening to attack someone, then drawing a firearm would be justified because they are "Committing or attempting to commit a felony involving the use or threatened imminent use of physical force against a person."

    I'm not a lawyer, so let me know if I'm not reading that right.
     
  10. WhyteCheddar

    WhyteCheddar East of Moscow by the Willamette Well-Known Member

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    No. 4th degree assault is not a felony. It is a class A misdemeanor.
    This based on the ORS 163.160
    There have to be enhancing circumstances for it to add up to a felony.
     
  11. Graffin

    Graffin Oregon Member

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    Thank you. Good to know.
     
  12. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    I don't personally carry a non-lethal defense item on me, but some of scenarios make me think that maybe doing so might be a good idea. If you feel that you are about to enter a situation where you might take a punch, or walk up on someone trying to break into your car it seems that a shot of pepper spray may me a good alternative. Granted this may give the bad guy time to present a weapon of his own, but it may also end the situation without you needing to end someones life. Of course it the pepper spray doesn't end the threat then I would think you would be more than justified in shooting.
     
  13. WhyteCheddar

    WhyteCheddar East of Moscow by the Willamette Well-Known Member

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    Just to add, it's not a huge leap from the misdemeanor to the felony. In some cases it upgrades only if the perp has prior assault convictions.
     
  14. ApronAmy

    ApronAmy Beaverton, OR Member

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    It may be the one and only advantage to being a small, fragile, "weak" woman... the threshold for what I perceive as a threat to my life is much, much lower than it would be for most men. My ability to defend myself without my gun against almost any man is pretty much laughable. I might be able to break someone's pinky finger if I got scared or angry enough but that surely isn't going to stop a bad guy intent on doing me or my children harm.

    As this discussion shows, it is much harder to delineate what is acceptable when two reasonably able-bodied men are involved in an altercation.
     
  15. MA Duce

    MA Duce Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Nah..I'm a sniveling coward......:laugh:
     
  16. Defense Minister

    Defense Minister Eugene/Springfield Active Member

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    This is exactly why it is my personal belief that anyone who carries a firearm for personal defense, should always carry a non-lethal means also. You don't want your only option for ending a confrontation to be you and your gun. That non-lethal means could be pepper spray for some, and for others it could be extensive empty hand combat training. There are other options out there as well, but I choose pepper spray because it's convenient and inexpensive.

    P.S. You may notice that this is my first post. I've been a member of another forum for some time, but recently found you guys. Since I live in Oregon, it made sense to join the discussion here as well. Thanks for being here!
     
  17. Graffin

    Graffin Oregon Member

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    Welcome to NWF, Defense Minister!

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. The non-lethal option is something I hadn't really thought about. Might be a good idea to pick up some pepper spray as a "just in case" measure.
     
  18. Swedish K

    Swedish K SW Washington Moderator Staff Member

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    So why is it that I can readily get a carry permit and pack a gun most everywhere I go but many "less lethal" options are felonies? A nice lead sap or blackjack is a great way to persuade an attacker to go away but if you get caught carrying a sap its most likely a trip to jail for you. I've seen people get hauled in for having a bat in the car with no glove - they usually don't get prosecuted but it is a hassle. When I lived in CA it was a misdemeanor for illegal concealed carry of a gun if you don't have a weapons or violent criminal history at least, but if I carried a concealed knife over 4" blade it was a felony.... makes no sense to me but then again the "PC" Agenda down there falls into the category of "logic driven by PCP/LSD cocktail".
     
  19. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Did your CHL class go over the lethal force pyramid? Ability, Opportunity, Intent
    Ability: The person has a weapon, or has you outnumbered, or has an obvious strength/skill advantage
    Opportunity: The person is close enough to cause serious injury or death to you. Maybe he's unarmed but bad-breath close. Maybe he has a knife and is around 20 feet away, maybe he has a gun and is 50 yards away
    Intent (sometimes called Jeopardy): does he intend to cause you death or serious bodily injury? That's a real gray area and you have to be in genuine fear for your life. If there is a guy across the street with a handgun he has the ability and opportunity but is he a threat to you? Maybe he's out for a walk and he's no threat. Or maybe he turns towards you and starts yelling obscenities and threatens to kill you.
    If all three of those conditions are met, you are justified to use deadly force. If any are missing and you kill someone you are probably in a lot of trouble.
     
  20. deen_ad

    deen_ad Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Actually, you're probably in a lot of trouble anyway! Civil cases cost a bunch even if you win, and more if you lose!

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    Deen
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