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What Can You Do According to Florida Concealed Carry Laws?
What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
In 2016 Marie moved into a new home in South Tampa Florida. The neighborhood was not the greatest because she was living near McDill Air Force Base. However her children loved walking down Bayshore during the evening so I was the perfect home for her.
After about a year of living in her new home Marie was approached by a man who asked if he could take her out on a date. Marie politely responded that she was not interested in dating at this time. For most men this is where it would end if you’re not interested then you’re not interested however this individual felt extremely offended that he was rejected by Marie so he began harassing her. First he began by following her around stores and while her and her children were walking on Bayshore. Then he began leaving notes on Marie’s vehicle and front door. One day Maria walked outside on her way to work and she noticed that all four of her tires had been slashed.
This is When the harassment was taken to a whole new level as this strange man began spraying pepper spray on Marie’s car door handle and front door knob. On several occasions this man would follow Marie on her way to and from work while brake checking her and he even attempted to force her off the road.
One day as Marie was traveling on the Gandy bridge she noticed her stalker’s vehicle behind her. So she decided to do what a lot of young women do in a situation like this , which is to call her older brother, Michael. Now just imagine for the last few months this older brother has been listening to stories of how this strange man was harassing his baby sister. If there’s one thing older brothers are born with it’s a deep desire to protect their siblings.
Michael informed his sister that he would be at her home when she arrived and that he would protect her. When Marie arrived home she parked in her driveway and the stocker parked in the road just behind her.
Michael immediately stormed out of the front door with a Glock 19 in his hand. What is Michael legally allowed to do according to Florida Concealed Carry Law?
Let’s ask ourselves the big questions.
The Big Questions
How Could this Situation Have Been Avoided?
If you are ever being followed by a strange person you should never go home. The last thing that we want is some lunatic to figure out where you live. Instead it’s better for you to dial 911 and tell the dispatcher what is happening. I also encourage you to drive to the nearest police station this way the police will come out and keep you safe from the crazy person. Or maybe you can drive to a very public area like a gas station or a busy Walmart. Pull up right in front of a large group of people or people exiting the store and start yelling this person is threatening me and following me. If there are any sheep dogs in the crowd they will not hesitate to get rid of the creepy stalker and keep you safe.
The situation with Marie was a little bit different; the stocker already knew where she lived and Marie had become frustrated with local law-enforcement because they failed to take action to keep her safe. I think this is why she chose not to call 911 and instead her brother.
Does this Scenario Fall Under the Justified Use of Force Statute?
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.
Do you have a responsible belief of imminent death? In my opinion no, the creepy stalker is following Marie but in this encounter he has not threatened or attempted to use deadly force. And there is nothing to indicate that he is planning to kill her or her family member when he pulls up behind her car. Yes I understand he has been doing things in the past and I understand this man is extremely strange but I do not believe there is a reasonable belief of imminent death.
Do you have a responsible belief of great bodily harm? Possibly this stocker has been harassing Marie but he hasn’t made any direct threats. And during this specific incident I don’t believe there is a reasonable belief of great bodily harm.
Do you have a responsible belief of the imminent commission of a forcible felony?
Florida Statutes 776.08 Forcible felony.—“Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
Aggravated Stalking F.S 784.048 (3) A person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows, harasses or cyber stalks another person and makes a credible threat to that person commits the offense of aggravated stalking…
I think what’s happening to Marie could be considered aggravated stalking however I don’t know for sure.
Is the use of deadly force necessary? In my opinion the answer is no. Marie could have easily driven to a police station or dialed 911. There were a lot of things she could’ve done to try to keep herself safe from the stocker.
Are you in a place where you have a right to be? Yes Marie has a legal right to be in her vehicle parked in her driveway.
Are you engaged in criminal activity? I believe the answer to this question would be yes. Michael does not have a legal right to have a Firearm in his hand ready to use. Under Florida law this is called improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm it is more commonly referred to as Brandishing. Here’s what the law says;
Florida Statutes 790.10 Improper exhibition of dangerous weapons or firearms.—If any person having or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other weapon shall, in the presence of one or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense…
According to Florida concealed carry law a person does not have a legal right to threaten to use a firearm unless they also have a legal right to use the firearm in deadly force. Because the creepy stocker has not met the requirements of the Florida justified use of force Statute, therefore eliminating the legal right to use or threaten use deadly force, Michael did not have a legal right to have a firearm in his hand ready to use.
Where is the Line in the Sand?
The line in the sand would be the point at which Marie or her brother Michael had no other option but to pull out their firearm and shoot the stocker. For me this line in the sand would be if the stocker displayed a weapon, threatens the use of deadly force with a reasonable belief he was actually going to commit it, or if the stocker entered or attempted to enter Marie’s home or occupied vehicle.
What Would You Do?
What would you do if you were being followed and harassed by a creepy stalker? Would you move or would you fight back by calling the police, installing security cameras and taking other defensive actions?
The Rest of The Story
When Michael exited Marie’s home he was highly emotional and angry that this strange man was harassing his sister. With a Glock 19 in his hand Michael approached the front of the stockers vehicle and opened fire through the windshield. As I’m sure you can imagine this creepy stocker did not survive. When Marie called the police they assumed that Michael's use of deadly force would be justified under the law. Michael was very shocked to learn that he did not have a legal right to use deadly force against the creepy stocker and he was later charged with murder.
Personally I couldn’t imagine how I would react if someone was harassing my daughter Paisley in a similar fashion. I understand how easy it would be for Michael to lose control and become highly emotional in an attempt to defend his sister. High emotion moments are the most dangerous situations we will ever be in and this is why it is so critical for you to play the “What Would Do If Game” now and figure out when you are going to use a gun and sometimes more importantly when you are never going to use a gun.
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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Ryan G. Thomas
Ryan believes a trained and aware citizen is the best way to minimize crime, victims and senseless acts of violence. Ryan is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a father of three beautiful children. Ryan and his wife Tiffany met while doing inner city ministry for Operation Explosion in Tampa 12 years ago. He is passionate about God, his family, and his community. Ryan has a passion for the 2nd amendment and believes all Americans should have the right and ability to protect themselves and their families.