Self-Defense with Firearms and Threatening Deadly Force

In this episode, Chuck describes the different levels of assault, the boundaries of self-defense, and other tips to keep you safe and informed.

Self-Defense with Firearms and Threatening Deadly Force Video Transcript

Hey everybody. I’m getting a lot more telephone calls relative to firearms and things have changed considerably in the last four months. And there are a lot of people out there that aren’t handling this very well. A lot of anger. A lot of uncertainty. So, I’m getting more phone calls and my friends who are Attorneys are telling me that they are getting more gun related… let’s say, gun related issues involving people that are charged with guns and/or victims of someone pointing or shooting a gun at them.

With that being said I want to go over what assault is. We have various levels of assault. We’ve got a simple assault which would be… I’ll give you an example, me walking up to you and punching you or slapping you up side the head. That’s a misdemeanor. Now, if I were to come up to you and slap you up side the head or punch you and cause serious physical injury, it elevates to an aggravated assault, which is a felony. Another type of aggravated assault is if you touch a Police Officer, a Nurse, a Doctor, an Emergency personnel, a Fireman, EMT, whatever, instead of it being a simply assault it becomes a felony. A Class Six felony. You pull a gun on somebody and they’re at a reasonable apprehension of physical harm or death, that’s an aggravated assault. If you drive drunk in your car, you hit somebody, you hurt them, that’s an aggravated assault. You attempt to stab somebody or you’re waving around a knife, that’s an aggravated assault. What I’m trying to explain here is a simply assault can get aggravated or made worse by the use of a weapon or the seriousness of the physical injury.

Now, there’s plenty of situations where if somebody pulls a gun on you, you have the Right to defend yourself in Arizona and probably everywhere in the United States. You can meet dangerous physical force with dangerous physical force. Something that occurred, it’s been all over the news in the last ten days or so… there was ironically enough a husband and wife that were Lawyers in another State that thought that some protestors were going to… they were marching down their street. A beautiful home. And they came out on their front porch, yard, stairs, with an AR-15 in the male’s hands and a… some kind of a pistol in the woman’s hands and they were waving it around. To me it seemed clear on the video that the guns were being pointed on and off as they were being waved. It’s fine to defend your home but you don’t literally walk out to the street to do that. That’s silly and that is not the way to do it. You stay inside or at the door; but you don’t start defending your home preemptively, if you will. That’s an aggravated assault and I believe they were arrested and probably rightfully so. But you just can’t go out there and start threatening people that were… and I’m just repeating what I’ve read, were peacefully protesting. Even if they weren’t peacefully protesting, they weren’t on the guy’s property yet and they sure weren’t at the front door because these folks were twenty, thirty feet from their front door of their home. So, don’t do that.

And if your car is getting broken into you can’t walk out there and point a gun at the person or shoot them. Unless of course, you’re in reasonable apprehension of physical injury or death. And if you walk out there and then the person has a gun and they point it at you, then you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do; but you better be able to articulate to the Police when they show up, that you were scared you were going to get shot and hurt or that they would do something to your kids or that you were going to die. That’s what you’ve got to articulate. The first thing that you should really do is call an Attorney immediately before you start talking. But you know, you can’t again preemptively do something to someone because that doesn’t hold any water. You… self-defense has to be justified. So, you have to show justification.

If somebody, road rage incident. You have a problem with a guy running… going down the street and he starts screaming at you and you think he wants to fight you and he keeps saying pull over, pull over. You can’t show him your gun. I’ve had many clients do that. That is a minimum of a Class Six felony. Probably turn into an aggravated assault which is a higher-class felony but you can’t do that. You know the guy wants to fight you and you show him the gun or you put it on your dashboard or something silly like that, that’s not the way to handle that. Now if he shows you his gun and let’s… we’re going to assume you’re not driving on the freeway at sixty-five miles an hour, and you’re at a stoplight, yes, you then can show him your weapon to deter him from using his.

My best advice is to get the hell out of there as fast as possible. The last thing you want to be doing is showing somebody else a firearm and have that person then take a shot at you or you shoot at him, whatever, and a stray bullet hits a kid or someone else. Then you are in trouble. And you’ve got to always know what your background is. What’s behind that person. It’s just… there are too many problems with that scenario.

So, be careful what you do. Your gun should always be stored safely, preferably in a holster. But don’t start waving it around to show you are a tough guy or to intimidate somebody because that’s not the way it works. You have to watch your Ps and Qs. You can go to my website and maybe get some pointers as to what you can and you can’t do; but it’s become more a prevalent thing.

There was just this past week an armed robber at a Scottsdale… I believe it was a Circle K at Hayden and Indian School, and the armed robber came out, shot somebody, shot somebody else and that person happened to be armed and shot him and dropped him and killed him. So, I believe there were two people that were dead, exchanging gun fire. The bad guy will never have the opportunity to do that again. So, I don’t wish death on anybody but you know, he sort of got what he deserved doing that.

But don’t try to be a hero unless you’re absolutely sure of what you’re doing. Please. You’ll end up… even if you’re dead-set in the right, remember you end up having to hire an Attorney. It disrupts your family life. It’s… the stress would be phenomenal. Okay? And I know that just from clients telling me the kind of stress they are going through because they’re looking at prison hanging over their head. And God forbid, they end up killing somebody. Then it is even worse.

So, think twice. Take a deep breath if you possibly have the time to do that before you take any action on your own. Thank you.