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One of the biggest mistakes Florida concealed carry permit holders make is that they lack a deep understanding of when they are allowed to use or threaten the use of force. Most permit holders have a false belief that they are allowed to shot someone any time they feel threatened. This couldn't be further from the truth.
There are two types of force that are permitted under Florida concealed carry laws: deadly force and non-deadly force.
In this article we will discuss when it is legal to use non-deadly force in the state of Florida.
When Is It Legal To Use Non-Deadly Force?
Florida Statutes 776.012 (1) Use or threatened use of force in defense of a person. A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
Let's pretend you're walking down the street and someone punches you in the face. This attacker doesn't have a right to hit you and therefore is using unlawful force. This gives you the legal right to defend yourself with your fists, pepper spray, mace, or a taser.
However, at a bird's eye view, this situation does not give you the right to use deadly force. I always seem to get the same statement from students when I discuss this topic: "Someone could die from a punch."
They are right; a person could die from a punch. However, our goal is to look at the things that are probable and likely to happen, not all of the things that are possible.
Is It Possible?
Just imagine, is it possible that as you're reading this book, a meteorite comes down from space, hits you in the head and kills you? Yes, that is possible, but it’s not very likely to happen. In the United States, how many people would you estimate get punched every year? I would say that millions of people get punched every single year. Yet very few people who get punched actually die. According to the 2018 Uniform Crime Report published by the FBI, 672 people were killed by an attacker's hands, fists, or feet. This makes the probability of a person dying from a punch or a kick extremely rare.
Getting Punched in the Face
It's Saturday night and you and your friends decide to go out for dinner. The restaurant is busy, and the lobby is packed with hungry guests. As you are waiting, you notice a man who seems agitated or upset. The man suddenly stands up and begins screaming at the hostess. "How much longer is this going to take?" Without hesitation, you say, "Just calm down, buddy. There is nothing she can do.” This statement sends the angry man into a fit of rage. He gets in your face, and you both begin arguing back and forth. Out of nowhere, the guy sucker punches you in the face. You hit the ground, and this large man is now standing over you, screaming and yelling.
What can you do legally do according to Florida concealed carry laws? Let's ask ourselves the big questions.
The Big Questions
How Could This Situation Be Avoided?
Well, this situation could be avoided by keeping your mouth shut when crazy people are freaking out. That's easier said than done, and I would have a hard time keeping my mouth shut watching some jerk yell at a lady. I also have a speedy wit, and I'm known for saying random and sometimes stupid things very quickly without thinking.
What Other Self-Defense Options Could Be Used?
The attacker is using unlawful force by punching this man in the face, so according to Florida Statute 776.012(1), the victim would have a right to use force to defend himself. Here’s what the statute says:
Florida Statutes 776.012 (1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
You would be justified in using or threatening to use force, not including deadly force, to protect yourself. This would include kicking the attacker in the balls, punching him in the face, or using pepper spray. Using or threatening to use a firearm would not be justified because of the answer to this one simple question.
Is Your Only Option to Stay Alive to Pull Out Your Firearm and Shoot?
After the attacker punches our victim in the face and is standing over him, was his only option to stay alive to pull out his firearm and shoot? Of course not; the vast majority of fistfights do not result in life-threatening injuries, and just because you suck at fighting doesn't mean you have a right to shoot someone.
What Would You Do?
If you were the victim in this situation, what would you do? If you witnessed this altercation at a restaurant, what would you do? Would you get involved to defend the victim, or would you be a great witness for the police?
Finally, where is the line in the sand? How far would this situation have to escalate before you would have a reasonable belief of imminent death, great bodily harm, or the imminent commission of a forcible felony? How violent would the beating have to become before the use or threatened use of deadly force would be a necessary response?
If you want to learn more about when it is legal to use deadly force according to Florida concealed carry laws read this article "When Is It Legal to Use Deadly Force In The State of Florida?"
That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...
Ryan G. Thomas
P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…
And for a limited time you can watch the concealed carry course online for free... Click here to get started...