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Rioters Surrounding My Vehicle, Can I Shoot?

August 05, 20214 min read

What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.

One of the most popular trends of 2020 has been for protestors to block roadways, forcing traffic to stop. 

“What would you do if you were driving your car down the road and all of a sudden a group of protesters decided to block traffic?”

I asked this question while speaking in front of a group of concerned citizens in Tampa, and I received a variety of answers. 

"I would go in reverse." 

"I would get away from the protestors." 

"I would turn around, make a U-turn." 

“I would drive right through them.”

In my opinion, the best thing to do in a situation like this is to simply go backwards, turn around, and get the hell out of dodge. But what if that's not good enough? 

Just imagine that you’re driving down the road with your family in the car when all of a sudden, your vehicle is stopped by a group of protestors. Before you have time to back up, your vehicle is surrounded by an out-of-control mob. The mob is screaming, cursing, and rocking your vehicle. One protestor even jumps on your hood and begins jumping up and down. What would you do? Let's ask ourselves the big questions. 

The Big Questions

How Could This Situation Have Been Avoided? 

As a safe and responsible firearms owner, your goal should always be to identify and avoid a threat as much as possible. If you are aware of a protest in your area, maybe you should stay home or leave work early so that you can avoid the crowds. However, this isn’t always possible. Many years ago, I was driving through downtown Tampa when I pulled up to a red light. As I was sitting at the intersection, I noticed hundreds of people marching in the street less than a block away. Thankfully my light turned green and I was able to drive away before the crowd reached my vehicle. 

If you are surprised by a large crowd blocking the street, the best thing to do is turn around and get away from them. 

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. 

Were the protestors entering or attempting to enter an occupied vehicle? Not at the moment. They are simply yelling, screaming, and damaging the vehicle. But no one has broken or attempted to break a window or open a door. 

Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter unlawfully? No, no one has attempted to enter.

Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter by force? Not yet, but that could change in an instant. 

Is the use of deadly force a reasonable response? No, but again, this could change very quickly.

I personally don’t think it would be lawful to use or threaten the use of deadly force in this situation. However, I also would not just sit in my car hoping and praying the mob didn’t break a window and drag my family out. Instead, I would let off the brake and let my vehicle roll. Let me be very clear: I think it is wrong to drive through a crowd of protestors at 90 mph. However, I don’t have a problem with 10 mph. My responsibility is to protect my family and to get them out of harm’s way.

Where Is the Line in the Sand? 

The line in the sand is the point at which you would have no other option but to pull out your weapon and fire. For me, this line would be if one of the protestors brandished a weapon, opened the door to my vehicle, or broke a window.

As I mentioned before, Florida Statute 776.013(4) authorizes the use of deadly force if someone enters or attempts to enter an occupied vehicle unlawfully and by force. In my opinion, as soon as a protestor smashes my window and attempts to enter my vehicle, I would defend my family. 

What Would You Do? 

If you find yourself in a situation like this, what would you do? Would you sit in your vehicle and hope for the best or would you drive through the crowd? If you were able to put your vehicle in reverse to avoid the crowd, would you?

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...

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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.

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