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What Can You Do According to Florida Concealed Carry Laws?
What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
In February 2021 three men were arrested for a series of vehicle break-ins that occurred in Seminole county Florida. These three men allegedly targeted vehicles parked at a local nature trail, park, gym and fitness center.
These three men allegedly worked as a team with one person acting as a lookout, another as the getaway driver and the final person was the thief.
Once the coast was clear one person would approach the vehicle and either smash the window or punch out the lock. Then they would ransack the vehicle in search of valuables.
I want you to imagine for a moment that you’re at the gym exercising when you notice through the window that someone has just smashed the window to your car.
What level of force would you legally be allowed to use according to Florida Concealed Carry Laws? Let’s ask ourselves the big questions.
The Big Questions
How Could this Situation Have Been Avoided?
Law enforcement officers have told me that the vast majority of vehicle burglaries occur when the vehicle was left unlocked by the owner. Obviously this makes it very easy for a burglar to Access valuables inside of the car. However these burglars were much more aggressive. They were willing to smash a window and or destroy the locking mechanism just to access the inside of the vehicle.
A few days ago Tiffany and I were visiting a local gun store when Tiffany decided to leave her purse inside of my truck sitting on the passenger seat. Obviously this is a terrible idea because a burglar can easily see that there is something of value inside of the vehicle.
I asked her to hide her purse under the seat to make it at least a little bit more difficult for a burglar. However even this is not gonna protect your valuables from thrift. In my opinion the only way to prevent your valuables from being stolen from your vehicle is to not leave them inside of your vehicle. I’m always shocked at how many people tell me they leave their laptop, firearms or wallet inside of their vehicle overnight. This is a huge mistake that you should try to avoid.
Does this Scenario Fall Under the Castle Doctrine?
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.
The Florida Castle doctrine law allows a person to use or threaten the use of deadly force to stop a person who is unlawfully and by force entering an occupied vehicle. However the Castle Doctrine law does not authorize the use of deadly force to stop or prevent the theft of personal belongings unless the use or threaten to use deadly force is to stop the imminent commission of a forcible felony. Here is a complete list of forcible felonies in the State of Florida.
F.S. 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.
It’s also important to note that just because an individual is committing a forcible felony to use or threatened use of deadly force must also be a reasonable response.
Here’s an example, let’s say you’re working out in the gym practicing the latest yoga pose and you notice someone smashed the window in your SUV. Is it reasonable to believe that your only option to stay alive was to charge outside with your Ruger SP101 and open fire on the burglar? I personally think the answer would be no.
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? No
Do you have a responsible belief of great bodily harm? No
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.
Smashing a car window to steal personal belongings would be classified as a burglary in the state of Florida.
Burglary 810.02 (1)(a) …means entering or remaining in a dwelling, a structure or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter or remain.
Is the use of deadly force necessary? If you’re inside of the gym when you witness someone smashing the window of your vehicle I don’t believe the use or threaten to use a deadly force would be necessary. This opinion could change if you were standing in front of your vehicle while someone smashed the window and attempted to steal your belongings. However before a person could use or threaten use of deadly force in this situation the use of force would need to be a reasonable response. I personally don’t believe Shooting somebody would be a reasonable response to them stealing a personal belongings
Are you in a place where you have a right to be? Yes you have a legal right to be at the gym because you are a member.
Are you engaged in criminal activity? No you are not engage in any criminal activity.
Where is the Line in the Sand?
The line in the sand is the point at which you have no other option but to pull your gun and use or threaten the use of deadly force. For me the line in the sand in this situation would be a person who was sitting inside of my vehicle when the attacker smashed the window and attempted to enter. In this situation I wouldn’t be using or threatening to use of a firearm to protect my personal belongings instead it would be to protect the individual located inside of my vehicle.
What Would You Do?
What would you do if you witnessed someone smashing the window of your vehicle and stealing your personal belongings? Would you stay where you were, call the police and be an amazing witness? Or would you attempt to confront the burglar?
Remember just because you’re a good guy does not mean you were going to survive. Typically people who are breaking into vehicles are not high-quality people and they may be willing to kill or severely injure you just so that they can avoid jail. Last year a man in Windermere Florida witnessed somebody break into his vehicle so he and his son walked outside to confront the burglar. The burglar proceeded to beat the father and the son to death with a baseball bat. The major lesson here is that you never know who you’re dealing with and we must avoid these dangerous confrontations as much as possible.
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...
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.