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What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
As most of you know I love to ask my students why they want to get a Florida concealed weapons permit. One of the most common reasons is that the student was recently the victim of a burglary. As if arriving home to find your front door kicked in and your house ransacked isn’t scary enough. What would you do if the burglar was still inside of your home?
A Burglar Was In My House...
On October 6th 2016, Roberto and his family were returning home from a trip to Miami. When Roberto approached the front door he noticed that something wasn’t quite right. So he asked his family to wait in the car while he looked inside of the home. As Roberto slowly opened the front door he heard a loud sound and then watched as a strange man ran through his living room and out of the sliding glass door.
Without hesitating Roberto ran after the burglar in a desperate attempt to prevent him from getting away. The burglar ran through the backyard and jumped into the driver's seat of a vehicle that was parked in the alley behind Robertos home. Roberto quickly realized that this vehicle was filled with items from his home. As the burglar drove away Roberto slammed on the glass and attempted to open the door.
During my concealed carry course I asked Roberto what he would have done if he would have had a firearm that day. “I would have shot him” he replied confidently “Do you mean you would have shot the burglar when he was inside of your home? Or are you saying you would have shot the burglar as he was attempting to run away?” I asked.
Before I share with you how Roberto responded to this question. What do you think Roberto is legally allowed to do according to Florida Concealed Carry Laws? Let's ask ourselves the big questions.
The Big Questions
How Could This Situation Have Been Avoided?
If you are ever unfortunate enough to arrive home to a suspected burglary I always encourage my students to get back in their vehicle and drive away, call the police and let the police go into your home to make sure the burglar is not present. We simply never know what the burglar is willing to do if you stumble upon their crime.
Even if you have a valid concealed carry permit and your firearm on you attempting to clear a home is an extremely dangerous process unless you are highly trained. This is not something that an amateur should attempt. Remember just because you’re the good guy doesn’t mean you’re going to survive.
Does This Scenario Fall Under the Castle Doctrine Law?
Florida Statutes 776.013 (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
Did the attacker enter unlawfully? Yes the burglar does not have a legal right to be inside of Roberto‘s home and he was not invited.
Did the attacker enter by force? Yes the burglar was able to gain entry into Roberto‘s home by removing the sliding glass door from the frame. In my opinion this would be considered a forcible entry.
Is the use of force a reasonable response? Maybe but maybe not. As soon as the burglar realized that his crime had been discovered he immediately fled the house. I personally think it would be extremely difficult to convince a jury that Roberto‘s only option to stay alive was to pull his firearm and shoot a burglar who was fleeing the area.
Here’s The Question:
Is it legal for Roberto to shoot the burglar when the burglar was still inside of his home? Maybe but just because something may be legal does not mean it is the right thing to do. Let’s pretend for a moment that as soon as Roberto opened his front door and discovered the burglar he immediately pulled his firearm and shot the burglar in the chest killing him instantly.
Roberto would still have to go and be interviewed by detectives and his case would probably be heading for a trial. Roberto would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars hiring a legal team and years of stress . Is the use of deadly force in this situation Worth years of financial and mental stress? I personally don’t think so.
The second question: would it be legal for Roberto to shoot the burglar as the burglar was running through his yard? To answer this question we’re gonna have to take a look at the Florida justified use of force Statute.
Does This Scenario Fall Under the Justifiable Use of Force statutes?
Florida Statutes 776.012 (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
Are you or someone around you going to die within seconds? No
Are you or someone around you going to become the victim of great bodily harm? No
Are you or someone around you going to become the victims of a Forcible Felony within seconds? Unless the burglar has a weapon or is attempting to use deadly force I don’t believe this situation would meet the requirements of a forcible felony because the burglar has already stopped committing a burglary and now he is simply attempting to run away.
Is the use of deadly force reasonable? No because the burglar is running away and is no longer a threat to Roberto or his family.
Is the use of deadly force necessary? Definitely not
Where Is The Line In The Sand?
The line in the sand would be the point at which Roberto would have no other option but to pull out his Firearm and shoot the burglar. For me this line in the sand would be if my family and I walked into our home and all of a sudden discovered the burglar in the house as soon as I identified the burglar I would immediately present my firearm from concealment. My goal would be to hold up the burglar at gunpoint until the police arrived. However if the burglar decided to attack me or my family I would not hesitate to use deadly force.
What Would You Do If?
What would you do if you arrived home from vacation and discovered your front door kicked in and your home burglarized? Would you go inside of the home or would you leave the area and wait for the police? If you did decide to go into the home and you discovered a burglar inside what would you do? Do you possess the self-control to make sure that you do not chase the burglar down the street and do something that you will regret for the rest of your life?
The Rest of the Story
When I asked Roberto what he would’ve done if he would’ve had a firearm that day he told me that he would’ve shot at the burglar as he was attempting to flee in his vehicle. I personally believe this would be extremely unlawful and would end with Roberto being the one escorted to prison. This is a perfect example of what I like to call a high emotion moment. These are the situations where it is very normal for a human to overreact and make a very bad decision. This is also why it is so important for you to continue reading this book and to play the what would I do if game so that we can avoid making bad decisions that will affect the rest of your life.
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…
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