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Unlock the Door, I Need to Help Your Mommy..

August 09, 20216 min read

What Can You Do According to Florida Concealed Carry Laws?

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

On November 9, 2019, Amy was pulling into Publix grocery store with her 4-year-old daughter. She parked in an empty parking space and opened the door to exit the vehicle. This is when she noticed a truck pull up and park right behind her. The passenger inside this truck began to say, “Excuse me. Excuse me, I have a question for you.” Amy felt uncomfortable, so she closed and locked the door. This is when she noticed another man standing in front of her vehicle. “He needs your help,” the second man said. Amy was extremely afraid as these two men circled her vehicle. 

One man stood by the driver’s side door asking Amy for help while the other man approached the other side of the vehicle where Amy’s daughter was sitting. “Hello, unlock the door so I can help your mommy,” The man said to the little girl. 

What is Amy 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? 

I’m not sure this situation could have been avoided. Amy was aware of her surroundings and immediately identified that something was not right when the strange man was attempting to draw her out of the vehicle. 

What Self-Defense Options Could Have Been Used? 

Unfortunately, even though these men are exhibiting very strange behavior, nothing they have done at this point is illegal. 

Does This Scenario Fall Under the Castle Doctrine? 

The Florida castle doctrine law states that a person is justified in using or threatening the use of deadly force in the following situations: 

F.S. 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. 

Was the attacker entering or attempting to enter an occupied vehicle? Yes, one of the men was attempting to convince Amy’s little girl to unlock the door. 

Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter unlawfully? Yes, the men did not have a legal right to enter the vehicle, and they were not invited. 

Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter by force? No, attempting to enter the vehicle by force would include breaking the window or operating the door handle. 

Is the use of deadly force a reasonable response? No, at this point the men are acting very strange, but they have not committed a crime, and therefore pulling out a gun and shooting would not be a reasonable response. 

In this situation, the men were attempting to convince Amy and her daughter to open the doors willingly. However, they never committed a crime. Even though two of the requirements to use force under the castle doctrine law have been meet, the other two have not. Therefore, the Florida castle doctrine law, Florida statute 776.013(4), would not apply to this situation.

Does This Scenario Fall Under the Justified Use of Force Statute? 

In the previous section, we discussed why the castle doctrine does not apply to this situation, but what about the Florida Justified Use of Force Statute? Here’s what it says: 

F.S. 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 reasonable belief of imminent death? No, nothing about this situation would lead a reasonable person to believe that someone was about to die within seconds. 

Do you have a reasonable belief of great bodily harm? No.

Do you have a reasonable belief of the imminent commission of a forcible felony? Yes, personally, if I were looking through Amy’s eyes, I would think this situation was leaning toward a potential kidnapping attempt. However, the situation is still not clear enough to pull out a gun and shoot. 

Is the use of deadly force necessary? No, I don’t think the use of deadly force is necessary at this point. However, if this was my wife, I would want her to pull out the gun and make sure these scumbags knew she wasn’t going down easily. 

Are you in a place where you have a right to be? Yes. 

Are you engaged in criminal activity? No.

I don’t believe this situation justifies the use of deadly force, but as I mentioned, if it were my wife or daughter, I would want them to pull out their firearm and make it known that they are ready to do whatever it takes to survive. 

Where Is the Line in the Sand? 

The line in the sand is the point at which Amy would have no other option but to pull out her firearm and shoot. In my opinion, this would be if the attackers attempted to smash the window. Smashing the window and entering an occupied vehicle would definitely fall under the provisions of the castle doctrine law.

The second line would be if the second man was able to convince Amy’s 4-year-old daughter to unlock the door. 

Once that man opened the door and entered my vehicle, I would introduce him to Jesus. 

What Would You Do? 

When you pull into a parking spot, do you notice who pulls up behind you? The strategy used by the attackers in this story is commonly used by robbers.

They park behind the victim’s vehicle to prevent the victim from getting away, while at the same time blocking the view of potential witnesses. When you get into your vehicle, do you lock your doors immediately upon entry? Do you talk to your children about potential kidnappers? What would you do in this situation?

The Rest of the Story 

Amy was trapped inside of her vehicle while two hungry predators attempted to get inside. She was completely trapped without a way to defend herself. So, she did the only thing she could do, which was to lay on the horn. This caused other people in the parking lot to notice what was happening, causing the attackers to flee the area.

When the police arrived, a detective told Amy that this was a classic strategy used by professional human traffickers. He told Amy that usually when a victim locks themselves inside of a vehicle, the attackers will smash the windows and pull the victims out.

Thankfully, there were so many people in the parking lot that the would-be kidnappers didn’t feel comfortable with this tactic. Amy attended my concealed carry permit course and Advanced Concealed Carry Course just a few days after this incident. She has made the decision that if something like this ever happens again, she will be ready.

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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